ISRO images reveal Joshimath sank 5.4 cm in 12 days
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released satellite images of Joshimath, the town in Uttarakhand that's slowly sinking due to land subsidence. It shows that it sank by 5.4cm between December 27, 2022, and January 8, 2023. The agency also found that the 12-day sinking rate alone was quicker than the months between April and November last year, when Joshimath sank by 9cm.
Why does this story matter?
- Joshimath is a gateway to numerous pilgrimage centers like Badrinath, climbing expeditions, and trekking trails but is currently facing severe land subsidence due to its geographic location and also owing to man-made and natural factors.
- The town is also strategically important to the Army since it is located near the Line of Actual Control.
- Hence, the sinking of Joshimath poses a serious concern.
In 7 months, Joshimath sank 9 cm: ISRO
The instantaneous shifting of soil happened in the small temple town of Uttarakhand, which includes the Narsing Temple and Army Helipad. "The Crown of the subsidence is located near Joshimath-Auli road at a height of 2180 meters," said ISRO. "Slow subsidence up to 9 cm within the Joshimath town is recorded over a period of seven months, between April and November 2022," it added.
ISRO shared satellite photos of sinking Joshimath
According to a preliminary observation by ISRO, the entire town of #Joshimath might sink as a result of rapid land subsidence. The holy town sank 5.4 cm in a period of just 12 days! Central part of Joshimath town, army helipad and Narsingh Mandir are witnessing rapid subsidence. pic.twitter.com/qEvqRAFID8— Harsh Vats (@HarshVatsa7) January 12, 2023
Indian Army relocates troops from Joshimath
On Thursday, the Indian Army moved an undisclosed number of troops from the sinking Himalayan town after nearly 25-28 military installations reported cracks, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande said. Pande emphasized that in spite of the move, the Army's operational preparedness and readiness stood intact. He also confirmed that the troops would be relocated to Auli, a nearby town, if needed.
Amit Shah chairs high-level meeting to assess situation
In fact, more than 700 buildings, almost a fourth of the town's strength, have developed cracks, triggering authorities to relocate residents to safer areas and demolish mostly damaged buildings. On Thursday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a top-level meeting to assess the situation with Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Bhupendra Yadav, RK Singh, and other senior government officials at his residence.
SC to hear plea seeking suspension of NTPC project
On that note, the Supreme Court will hear a plea filed by a religious leader from Joshimath, seeking to stop the hydel power project construction and the construction of a tunnel by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), on Monday. The petition attributes the subsidence land to the projects, and demands they are halted until they are reviewed and approved by independent expert groups.