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Why is Joshimath sinking? Panel report warned in 1976 that village was built on ancient landslide

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A committee appointed by government had predicted in its nearly 50-year-old report about the current crisis faced by the residents of Uttarakhand’s Joshimath village, which is sinking.

The 1976 Mishra Committee report states that Joshimath lies on a deposit of sand and stone and not on the main rock. It said that the village lies on an ancient landslide. The undercutting by river currents of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga are also responsible in bringing landslides, the report says.

“These rivers washes away debris and thus, start cutting the edges of mountains and inhabitated area,” according to the report.

50-yr-old Alert

The panel recommendations included restrictions on heavy construction activities, felling of trees and blasting or digging to remove boulders for road repairs and other construction. The committee had also recommended undertaking a massive campaign to plant tress and grass, avoiding agriculture on slopes, closing construction of a pucca drain system soaking pits and flowing of sewage water through sewer line.

Furthermore, it recommended that cracks should be filled in with lime, local soil and sand and water accumulation should be avoided and drains should be constructed to carry it to safer area.

According to the Mishra panel report, “it’s commonly felt that increased construction activity and growing population have contributed to frequent landslides and slips in the area”.

Why is Joshimath sinking?

After 1962, heavy construction projects were undertaken in the area, felling of trees to make space for roads and buildings also took place, the report said, adding, a number of agencies have mercilessly destroyed the natural forest cover in Joshimath.

“Construction activity has not only distributed the biotic factors but also the natural hill slopes due to removal of established surface cover,” the report further stated.

Joshimath, which falls on the way to Badrinath and Auli, has been facing land subsidence which has resulted in cracks in more than 500 homes and other structures. It has now become too risky for the residents to live in the village.

Bindiya Bhatt
Bindiya Bhatthttps://thevocalnews.com
Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Vocal News, Bindiya Bhatt is a journalist with over 15 years of experience in the media industry. Having covered nearly all beats in her career, she is an Automobile and Tech enthusiast who loves writing about cars, bikes, gadgets and more. She has done her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication from IMS Noida.
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