A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a committee headed by a retired judge to look into the issue of sinking of Joshimath in Uttarakhand and rehabilitate the affected families.
Cracks have appeared in hundreds of houses of Joshimath, the gateway to some renowned pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib.
Highlighting the woes of over 3000 people of Joshimath, the plea said cracks have developed in at least 570 houses due to continued land subsidence.
After sinking of land, apparently caused by climate and infrastructural changes, over 60 families are reported to have left the town while others are either risking their lives by staying there or searching for an alternate accommodation in winter, it claimed. Petitioner and advocate Rohit Dandriyal claimed the construction activities done by the ministries of Road Transport and Highways and Power, New and Renewable Energy, in the town of Joshimath in past years have worked as a catalyst in the present scenario and ”violated” the fundament rights of the residents there. ”The respondent no.1 (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) invested Rs 12,000 crore in the programme for connectivity improvement for Char-Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri and Gangothri) in Uttarakhand,” it said.
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The plea said the Ministry of Power has also invested Rs 2976.5 crore through NTPC and started constructing Tapovan Vishnugad power plant in 2013 for 520 MW Power run-of-river project which is under construction on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. It sought to direct the authorities to constitute a high-power joint committee under the chairmanship of retired judge of the high court and representatives of all relevant ministries to inspect the affected areas and look into the issue and rehabilitate the affected people. Joshimath is sinking gradually with huge cracks developing in houses, roads and fields there. Many houses have suffered subsidence, locals said.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered immediate evacuation of 600 families living in houses at risk.