Uttarakhand: Joshimath authorities mark 86 homes as unsafe
Meanwhile, residents are protesting against the administration’s decision to demolish two hotels.
Authorities in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath have marked 86 homes as unsafe for living, forcing many residents to seek shelter in different areas, reported PTI on Wednesday.
“We are being asked by the administration to leave our homes where we have been living for decades,” a resident of one of the homes marked unsafe told the news agency. “Where shall we go with all our belongings, our children and the elderly family members?”
A crisis is looming over the town as 723 homes have developed cracks due to land subsidence, which refers to the ground slowly sinking, reported The Indian Express. According to government data as on Tuesday, 462 persons have been moved to temporary shelters.
The administration, meanwhile, is planning to demolish the Mount View hotel and the Malari Inn, stating that the two buildings are leaning towards one another, posing a threat to several surrounding homes.
However, the demolition, which was slated to take place on Tuesday, could not proceed after hotel owners and resident held protests at the site. The owner of the Malari Inn, Thakur Singh, lay prostrate on the road in front the hotel to protest against the proposed civic action, according to PTI.
“There was no prior notice,” he said. “If the government demarcated my hotel as unsafe, it should have first come up with a one-time settlement plan before deciding to demolish it.”
Singh said he was given an estimate of losses worth Rs 2.92 crore, and was asked by the sub-divisional magistrate to sign it. “How can I sign it?” he asked, according to PTI. “I had spent Rs 6-7 crore on upgrading the hotel by 2011. I am with the state government so far as the safety of people is concerned but I do not agree with the amount being offered to me as compensation.”
Amid the crisis, the town administration has called for a meeting of civic officials and hotel owners whose properties are to be demolished, India Today reported
Mount View owner Lalmani Semwal said that the proposed demolition was like “ slaying a child one has reared through years of hard work in front of its parents”.
A team from the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, has carried out a survey of both hotel buildings so that the structures can be demolished without any collateral damage.
To a question on whether more structures will be demolished, District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana said: “It is a developing situation and the survey to ascertain the vulnerability of the structures is currently underway. More structures will be demolished, if needed, keeping the safety of the people in mind.”
Opinion: Joshimath was a disaster waiting to happen, but nobody paid heed
On Wednesday, the Uttarakhand government said it will provide an assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh to each family in Joshimath impacted by the subsidence, reported ANI. No other buildings besides the two hotels will be demolished in the town, MR Meenakshi Sundaram, secretary to the chief minister, told ANI on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, authorities in Karnprayag town of Chamoli district also conducted an inspection after some homes in Bahuguna Nagar developed cracks, reported ANI.
“Earlier also we had done an inspection here and identified 27 buildings and recommended a geological survey and major treatment plan,” Surendra Dev, tehsildar of Bahuguna Nagar, told ANI. “Buildings that are unsafe to live in will be identified and will be vacated. Today’s inspection report will be sent to DM [district magistrate] and accordingly, further action to be taken.”