Why is Joshimath in Uttarakhand sinking?

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Joshimath is a small town in Uttarakhand that was created on the site of a centuries-old landslide. Recently, both the population and construction activity have increased significantly. 

Joshimath, which functions as the main gateway to well-known holy places like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and a staging place for soldiers stationed near the Sino-Indian border, and a kind of base camp for Himalayan hikes, is making news for an unfavorable reason: it is sinking. But why???

Joshimath’s sinking was largely caused by geological forces, according to research by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) starting in August 2022.

Land subsidence is a massive issue for Joshimath as it gradually sinks, and large fissures appear in its houses, roads, and fields. As the water started to pour from the “Joshimath rock,” the locals of Joshimath stopped the Badrinath national highway in a state of fresh terror. 

The locals were already fighting dangerous cracks and gaps that were beginning to appear in their residences, on the streets, and in their farms. A report published decades ago claimed that Joshimath has been an unsafe location to live since 1976 and residents have also called for the authorities to pay attention to the situation in protests.

 At midnight, they heard sounds coming from underground. Many frightened families ran away to safer neighborhoods, and more are lined up. When an aquifer also burst nearby, it added to the ruckus and was close to the JP residential community in Marwari.

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A government survey carried out on Wednesday revealed that over 600 residential buildings, including two sizable hotels here, had been harmed by landslides.

Pushkar Singh Dhami, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, paid a visit to the affected families’ houses in Joshimath on Saturday and pledged to see to their safety and recovery. 600 households who live in unsafe homes have been forced to leave immediately, according to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. Dhami said it was uncertain whether the town’s population would be relocated but that they needed to leave right away.

Following Joshimath’s land subsidence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami that the state will receive all assistance available.

The Uttarakhand chief minister, Dhami, stated: “PM Modi had a telephone chat with me asking about the situation in Joshimath and the efforts taken for the rehabilitation and safety of people.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) conducted a review meeting to discuss the circumstance in Joshimath, Uttarakhand. PK Mishra, the principal secretary to the prime minister, was informed by officials at the discussion that short-, medium-, and long-term planning is being supported by agencies and specialists from the Indian government.

Four teams from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and one team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already arrived in Joshimath. Through video conference, the meeting’s Chief Secretary SS Sandhu and Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar were also present.


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