'Sinking' Joshimath receives season's first snowfall, triggers fresh woes
Residents of Joshimath, the Uttarakhand town that's sinking slowly due to land subsidence, received the season's first snowfall on Friday. As per reports, the snowfall started at approximately 4 am, and the climate is set to stay the same for the next 24 hours. This added fresh woes to the locals as numerous structures and houses had already developed cracks, leaving many homeless.
Why does this story matter?
- Joshimath is a base point for numerous pilgrimage spots like Badrinath, trekking trails, and climbing expeditions.
- However, it is facing severe land subsidence because of its geographic positioning and natural and artificial factors.
- The Uttarakhand town is also strategically vital for the Army since it is close to the Line of Actual Control.
- Therefore, Joshimath is of great importance to India.
Poor weather forces administration to halt demolition work
The major concern is that numerous buildings and houses, which have developed cracks, are at risk of collapsing amid the rain and snowfall in the area. Amid the inclement weather, the authority will also need to halt the demolition work for the day. Due to the roads being completely covered in ice, vehicles have also stopped plying.
IMD forecasted snowfall until January 24 in Joshimath
Numerous clips on social media show homes and streets covered with snow in Joshimath while the evacuation process continues. The state's Mussourie, Kedarnath, Dhanaulti, and Pithoragarh districts also received snow on Friday, with cold waves continuing to prevail in Udhamsingh Nagar and Haridwar. The India Meteorological Department had forecasted snowfall and rain in Joshimath, Pithoragarh, and Chamoli on January 19, 20, 23, and 24.
Visuals from snow-covered Joshimath on Friday morning
Snowfall causes numerous road shutdowns in Joshimath
Due to the heavy snowfall in the area, demolition work on the hotels Mount View and Malari Inn, which have been declared unsafe, has been temporarily halted. The small Himalayan town is also facing power outages currently, reported India Today. The snowfall has also forced numerous road shutouts; however, the Badrinath Highway is open now.
Nearly 850 houses in Joshimath have developed cracks
On Thursday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami chaired a high-level meeting to check on the relief work in Joshimath. Dhami has assured that plenty of funds will be available for disaster management measures. A total of 849 houses in Joshimath have developed cracks, while 259 affected families have been moved to temporary relief centers, said Secretary of Disaster Management Dr. Ranjit Kumar Sinha.
No further widening of cracks in damaged houses: Dr. Sinha
The state government revealed that crack meters installed in the damaged homes in the sinking town showed no further widening of cracks in the past three days. "Crack meters installed by CBRI to measure the cracks in the buildings have indicated no increase in the width of the cracks in the last three days. This is a positive sign," Dr. Sinha confirmed.