Hundreds of affected people took to the streets of the subsidence-hit town of Joshimath on Friday to take part in a protest rally against the alleged slow pace of efforts to save the sinking town.
The Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti urged the gathering to demand permanent rehabilitation and compensation of the affected families.
“The urgency necessary to save Joshimath is still lacking. Permanent rehabilitation and compensation on the Badrinath line and scrapping the NTPC project for good are some of the issues that remain unresolved,” said Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti spokesperson Kamal Raturi.
The protesters raised slogans as they came out of Tapovan taxi stand, crossed the main road and gathered at Vedang plot in Singhdhar ward.
Locals say the digging of a 12 km tunnel for the National Thermal Power Corporation’s 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric project has aggravated the subsidence in Joshimath. NTPC has denied any link between the project and the subsidence, saying the tunnel is more than a kilometer underground and not under Joshimath.
Briefing the media about the rescue efforts underway in Joshimath, Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Kumar Sinha said the number of houses that have developed cracks stands at 863, while the water release in the JP Colony area has come down to 171 LPM.
Around 250 families have been evacuated to temporary relief centers and Rs 3.36 crore have been distributed among the affected people as temporary relief, he said. Construction of model prefab sheds is going on at the horticulture department’s land in Joshimath, Sinha said, adding that it is likely to be completed soon.
Land development work is also underway for prefabricated transit centers at Dhak village in Chamoli district.