Joshimath Crisis: An unending plight of the hills

“Only the bearer knows where the shoe pinches” and Joshimath residents are eventually facing similar things where there seems to be no end to their plight-filled situations.

The Uttarakhand town of Joshimath has been reportedly making several rounds of headlines of late. More than 500 buildings, residents, and resorts have developed cracks ascribing to rapid subsidence in the hilly terrains. Buildings are being demolished post two hotel resorts have tilted against each other. This was followed by a good round of delays and protests by the residents. With temperatures hovering around zero degrees, residents have been let out in this biting cold. The gradually sinking town is experiencing a tragedy like never before. The town has been labeled as a disaster-prone area and all sorts of construction activities have been banned from occurring here.

Reasons for severe subsidence

The town comprising a population of 20,000 people is situated on a fragile mountain slope. Besides, the occurrence of extreme weather events like 190mm of precipitation has led rivers to alter their course. Moreover, eco-tectonic plate movements and another set of geo-morphic factors have put the town in a highly vulnerable zone. It is situated along major tectonic fault lines. Being a pivotal point towards Badrinath which lessens the route by a good amount of 30 km, construction activities have been occurring at peak. It has not only disturbed drainage channels but also consequently disturbed the entire geological framework of the town.

The BJP-led Uttarakhand government as well as the Centre are initiating stringent measures to shield further damage to the town. Yet it has been too late to get nerves pricked. Nobody knows to what extent desperate situations would prevail further.