Satellite images of Uttarakhand’s Joshimath released by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) show that the Himalayan town sank at a rapid pace of 5.4 cm in just 12 days, triggered by a possible subsidence event on January 2.
Joshimath, the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and international skiing destination Auli, is facing a major challenge due to land subsidence.
The preliminary study by ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) said the land subsidence was slow between April and November 2022, during which Joshimath had sunk by 8.9 cm.
But between December 27, 2022 and January 8, 2023, the intensity of land subsidence increased and the town sank by 5.4 cm in these 12 days.
Chandrayaan 3 and Aditya L1 will possibly be launched in middle of 2023, says ISRO chief
OneWeb satellites one step away from offering space-based internet services across the world
ISRO successfully carries out "extremely challenging" controlled re-entry experiment of aged satellite
The pictures were taken from the Cartosat-2S satellite.
“The region subsided around 5 cm within a span of a few days and the areal extent of subsidence has also increased. But it is confined to the central part of Joshimath town,” the NRSC report said.
It said a subsidence zone resembling a generic landslide shape was identified – tapered top and fanning out at base. The report noted that the crown of the subsidence was located near Joshimath-Auli road at a height of 2,180 metres.
The images show the Army Helipad and Narsingh Temple as the prominent landmarks in the subsidence zone that spans the central part of Joshimath town.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on Thursday assessed the situation in Joshimath and steps taken to ameliorate people’s hardship at a meeting attended by Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, R K Singh, Bhupendra Yadav and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and top officials.
A total of 169 families consisting of 589 members have so far been shifted to relief centres.
There are 835 rooms serving as relief centres in Joshimath and Pipalkoti which can together accomodate 3,630 people.
An interim assistance of Rs 1.5 lakh has been paid so far to 42 affected families.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Thursday said a committee would decide the market rate for compensation to be paid to the families affected in Joshimath by keeping in mind the interests of stakeholders.