Joshimath sinking | Interim relief of ₹1.5 lakh per family, no house demolition: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami

Promising a future economy-ecology balance, Mr. Dhami asked residents not to create sentiment that the whole State was in danger, given upcoming international winter games in Auli, Char Dham yatra

January 11, 2023 02:25 pm | Updated 09:42 pm IST

A mark is seen on an unsafe building at  Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on January 11, 2023 after cracks appeared at a landslide-affected area.

A mark is seen on an unsafe building at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on January 11, 2023 after cracks appeared at a landslide-affected area. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Uttarakhand government will pay an interim relief of ₹45 crore, amounting to ₹1.5 lakh for each of the 3,000 families living in Joshimath, the Himalayan pilgrim town whose land is sinking, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on Wednesday. He stayed in the town on Wednesday night and spoke to the affected residents, who have seen cracks in their homes and roads in recent days, about the aid that the State was prepared to provide.

Speaking to residents, the CM said that there was a section of people who were alleging that development in Joshimath and Uttarakhand is happening at a pace that is too rapid. Hence, the government will try to put some checks and balances in place to ensure that the economy and ecological concerns go hand in hand, he said.

“We are all set to witness an international winter games tournament in Auli next month. Even the Char Dham yatra will start in April. The kind of sentiment being created across the world is that entire Uttarakhand is in danger. This is not right. I understand that development is happening very speedily in the State, as said by some people. So we will try to make a balance between economy and ecology in future,” Mr. Dhami added.

Bearing capacity assessment

The CM also announced that an analysis of ‘bearing capacity’ would be done in all the towns and cities in Uttarakhand. He maintained that if the development of any place was beyond its bearing capacity, the government would stop the same.

The interim relief from the government came a day after the residents of Joshimath staged a massive protest when the district administration attempted to demolish two hotels in the town that fell in the ‘danger’ category. As residents demanded compensation for their land as per the Badrinath Master Project, where the government paid two to four times the current circle rates, the administration had to defer the demolition. In fact, it could not take place on Wednesday either.

Compensation at market rates

Aiming to pacify the protestors, who were not ready to negotiate with the administration, the State government cleared its stand on compensation.

“Compensation for the loss of house/land will be given at the market rate to those affected by landslide in Joshimath,” said the CM, appealing to residents not to pay attention to the rumours of houses being demolished in the affected areas.

“No demolition action is being taken on the houses. Even the hotels are being dismantled as they pose threat to nearby buildings,” said Mr. Dhami, adding that the Uttarakhand government would take suggestions from the people of Joshimath for their rehabilitation, which would be done in accordance with their wishes.

“We will rehabilitate the people of Joshimath in a way that will become an example in the country,” the CM declared.

According to a statement issued after a meeting between residents and the CM’s secretary R. Meenakshi Sundaram, an advance of ₹1 lakh will be given to each family as immediate interim relief and an amount of ₹50,000 will be given to the affected people for transportation and shifting of houses.

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