While Joshimath sinking in Uttarakhand and it is really a national emergency, the BJP government is moving far too slowly, people say.
Joshimath Town is presently facing a huge serious emergency due to land subsidence and is frightening. With Joshimath sinking slowly with massive cracks developing in houses, roads, and fields there, people feel the government is taking it lightly, not regarding it as a national emergency.
Seated at a height of 6150 feet (1875 m), it is a gateway to several Himalayan mountain climbing expeditions, trekking trails, and pilgrim centers like Badrinath. It is also home to one of the four cardinal pīthas established by Adi Shankara. Joshimath, which is a part of the Chamoli district, is the gateway to the famous pilgrimage site Badrinath and the international skiing destination Auli.
Unfortunately, since 7 February 2021, Joshimath was harshly affected by the 2021 Uttarakhand flood and its aftermath. The town is now confirmed to be sinking due to its geographic location being along a running ridge. Structures around the town developed cracks and town people had to be evacuated.
It is a garrison town with units of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and Garhwal scouts who are present in the area for their primary task to guard the India-China border at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is about 100 km away from there.
The number of subsidence-affected homes in Joshimath rose to 678 while 27 more families were evacuated to safety, a bulletin from the Disaster Management Authority in Chamoli said, adding so far 82 families have been shifted to safe locations in the town.
In the meantime, the bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said that “everything which is important need not come to the apex court”. “There are democratically elected institutions working on it,” the SC said. Thus, the Supreme Court will not get involved in this matter.
The SC was hearing a petition by Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati who sought the top court’s intervention to declare the crisis in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath town as a national disaster.
The snail-slow manner in which the government is moving in this regard, however, is sparking anxiety and anger.
Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister speaks, calling it a national emergency speaking about the levels of damage inflicted in the area.
A plea was filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati who sought the intervention of the Supreme Court to ensure immediate financial assistance and compensation to the residents of Joshimath. Saraswati has contended that the incident occurred due to large-scale industrialization.
His plea has also sought direction from the National Disaster Management Authority to actively support the residents of Joshimath in this challenging time.
“No development is needed at the cost of human life and their ecosystem and if any such thing is to happen, then it is the duty of the State and Union government to stop the same immediately at war level,” the Seer said.
Earlier last week, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the town to assess the situation on the ground and met the local people. He also held discussions with a team of officials and experts who have been camping in the town since last Thursday and took their feedback on the evacuation exercise.
“Evacuating affected families is the government’s priority for now. We are also working on a long-term rehabilitation strategy,” Dhami told reporters after visiting houses in which huge cracks have appeared on the walls and ceilings.
“We are also working on a long-term rehabilitation strategy,” he added.
He said that suitable places for relocation of residents near Pipalkoti and Gauchar are also being identified.
The officials have been asked not to get entangled in long procedural complexities and take direct clearance from him for projects related to the treatment of drainage and sewage systems in Joshimath, he added.
However, the issue is still not regarded as a national emergency. A Congress supporter tweeted, “Modi government has no clue how to handle this disaster and his incompetent C.M is giving 5000rs a month per family to survive on.
Sunita Jadhav tweeted, “Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat speaks
Joshimath is sinking, it is a national emergency #Joshimathcrisis”
Another Congress supporter Md. Haris said, “Modi government has no clue how to handle this disaster and his incompetent C.M. is giving 5000rs a month per family to survive on. The speed and intention with which this government is working will be proved to be too less too late.” sharing horrifying pictures of the cracking and sinking grounds.
Former Uttarakhand CM @harishrawatcmuk speaks#JoshimathlsSinking it is a national emergency #Joshimathcrisis pic.twitter.com/HM3Qk56oNN
— Sunitajadhav (@sunmor2901) January 10, 2023
Modi government has no clue how to handle this disaster and his incompetent C.M is giving 5000rs a month per family to survive on.
The speed and intention with which this government is working will be proved to be too less too late.#JoshimathIsSinking pic.twitter.com/xGhr8clxZq
— Md.Haris (@HarisButt_says) January 10, 2023