Joshimath is a small town in Uttarakhand, which is situated at 6,000 feet. It is considered to be the gateway to Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib and is considered the ‘Hindu Town’ of Uttarakhand.
Director of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology Kalachand Sain said, “The three principal factors are Joshimath’s vulnerable foundations as it was developed on the debris of a landslide triggered by an earthquake more than a century ago, its location in seismic zone V which is more prone to earthquakes besides gradual weathering and water percolation which reduce the cohesive strength of the rocks over time.”
The Mishra Committee report in 1976 had also written about its location in an old subsidence zone.
The land has been proven to be unstable because of the construction of several heavy projects such as hydroelectric projects, and the widening of the National Highway and excessive population have made the slopes in the town unstable. (DNA)
A survey was conducted by researchers from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in 2022, revealing that the soil on which the town of Joshimath has been built has a low holding capacity, especially after excessive construction.
The reason behind its sinking is Land Subsidence. Subsidence is a general term for the downward vertical movement of the Earth’s surface, which can be caused by both natural processes and human activities. Subsidence involves little or no horizontal movement, which distinguishes it from slope movement.
With 3,800+ people fearing for life, roads getting cracked, and 560+ houses being damaged, what will be the Government’s next move?
Despite reports since 1976 and multiple times being flagged of the problem, there has been continuous negligence on this issue.