Locals move their belongings after the district administration declared their houses unsafe following cracks widening due to land subsidence, at Joshimath, in Chamoli on Wednesday, Jan 11, 2023. Image Credit: ANI

Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Wednesday dismissed reports of the demolition of houses that have developed cracks due to land subsidence in the Joshimath area of Chamoli, and said that “no action” is being taken to bring down the houses.

Dhami appealed to the people not to pay attention to such rumours.

“Rumours are being spread about the demolition of houses which have developed cracks in the affected area. I appeal to all not to pay heed to these rumours. No action is being taken to demolish the houses having cracks in the affected area,” he said.

Dhami said that the affected people will be given compensation at the market rate in the landslide and landslide-affected areas of the Joshimath municipal area.

“The market rate will be issued after taking the suggestions of the stakeholders and in the public interest,” he said.

The Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary not to demolish the houses with cracks in the affected area unless it is unavoidable.

The Chief Minister said that a total amount of Rs 450 million has been release to 3,000 families affected families.

Cracks have appeared in 723 buildings in Joshimath town of Uttarakhand which has been affected by land subsidence and so far 131 families have been shifted to safer locations, according to the district administration.

“For the time being, interim assistance of Rs 150,000 per family is being given. An advance amount of Rs 100,000 has been given to the affected land owners/families due to landslides in the affected area before the permanent settlement displacement policy is prepared. An amount of Rs 50,000 has been given to the affected landowners/families in the form of a non-adjustable one-time special grant for the transportation of goods and immediate needs of their buildings. This amount was released by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Authority,” he said.

“He said that assistance would be given after a complete assessment of the total expenditure in the affected area. The Chief Minister has given one month’s salary to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to help the disaster-affected families in Joshimath,” the Chief Minister said.

State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) personnel taking measurements of a crack that appeared on the wall during recent land subsidence at Joshimath, in Chamoli on Wednesday, Jan 11, 2023. Image Credit: ANI

He instructed the Chief Secretary that after talking to the affected families in Joshimath area, all their problems should be resolved quickly.

“From the point of view of security, the families who are being shifted to other places should be ensured that all better necessary arrangements are there,” he said.

Dhami also instructed the Chief Secretary that on the basis of his suggestions, better arrangements should be made for the displacement of the affected people.

“The government would provide all possible facilities to the affected people in their pain and suffering,” he said.

“In the affected area of Joshimath, the high officials of the government are meeting the affected people in the area to solve their problems. Secretary Chief Minister R Meenakshi Sundaram is overseeing all the arrangements along with the administration officials on the spot. Geological and other necessary investigations are being done by the concerned institutions in the landslide and landslide-affected area of Joshimath. The team of the National Disaster Management Authority is also present on the spot,” he said.

Karnaprayag building cracks

Following reports of cracks appearing in houses in Karnaprayag and growing fear of land subsidence, the Tehsil administration and PWD officials carried out an inspection drive in Bahuguna Nagar, on Wednesday, to identify buildings that cannot be repaired after developing cracks.

Speaking to ANI, Surendra Dev, Tehsildar of the area said that the authorities are trying to identify the buildings which do not have a scope for further reparation.

“Our primary aim is to identify the buildings and evacuate the people to safer zones and rehabilitation centres. After proper inspection of the buildings, we will plan on demolishing them,” Yadav said.

Highlighting the issue of water logging in the area, Yadav said, “Such things are common in the area during monsoons when water rushes into the buildings and eventually weakens the base of the buildings, leading to withering and cracks.”

Yadav further added that the authorities had carried out an inspection last year as well where 27 damaged buildings were listed and recommended a geological survey and major treatment plan.

Speaking on the solution to the issue, Yadav said, “This area needs a proper geological survey and treatment plan. Extensive studies are being conducted by scientists and researchers of IIT Roorkee twice whose report is yet to be received.”