Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on January 12 said a committee would decide the market rate for compensation to be paid to the families affected in Joshimath by keeping in mind the interests of stakeholders.
A 19-member committee headed by Chamoli District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana was set up on Wednesday to distribute interim assistance of ₹1.50 lakh among each affected family and decide the rate at which compensation is to be paid.
"People will get the best compensation possible. The State Government will do all it can to properly rehabilitate them. Protecting their life and property is our top priority," Mr. Dhami said at a meeting with the committee.
Explained | Why is the land sinking in Joshimath?
On the ₹1.50 lakh being paid immediately to each affected family for which ₹45 crore has already been released, the Chief Minister said, "It is only an interim relief. Details of the final compensation and rehabilitation are being worked out."
He said a wrong impression was being created about Joshimath that could hit the livelihoods of the local people.
"The winter games in Auli are beginning in February and the Char Dham Yatra in a few months. Sending a message outside Joshimath that the entire town is sinking is wrong. It will adversely impact the local economy," Mr. Dhami said.
Mr. Dhami said only 20-25% houses in Joshimath were affected by land subsidence and not the whole town -- an impression being wrongly created by some.
"The disaster has hit 600-700 houses, which is only 20-25% of the town's entire area. But an atmosphere is built around Joshimath that the whole town is sinking, which is not true," Mr. Dhami added.
He said creating an impression like this could harm the local people's livelihoods, which are based on tourism and pilgrimage.
Mr. Dhami said the interim assistance would reach the bank accounts of the families affected by this evening or Friday.
He also called for a collective effort to strengthen the morale of people to overcome this phase.
The Chief Minister also held a meeting with Indo-Tibetan Border Police and National Disaster Response Force personnel deployed on the ground and scientists from different organisations studying the land subsidence problem in Joshimath.
Mr. Dhami began his day in Joshimath by offering prayers at the Narsingh temple.
"I performed a puja at the Narsingh temple this [Thursday] morning and prayed to the lord, seeking His blessings for the safety and security of this town and its residents," Mr. Dhami, who has been in Joshimath since Wednesday, said.
Several meetings are lined up for the day in which all matters related to Joshimath will be discussed, he added.
When told of reports about cracks appearing in houses in Karnaprayag, he said these had been there for some time but still they would also be discussed.