Demolition of unsafe buildings resumes in Joshimath; buildings with cracks rise to 863

DEHRADUN, Jan 21: The demolition of ‘unsafe’ buildings in subsidence-hit Joshimath in Uttarakhand resumed on Saturday as the weather improved, even as the number of buildings with cracks rose to 863, officials said.

They also said the discharge of water near JP colony here reduced to 136 LPM.

“The discharge of water there (JP Colony) stood initially at 540 LPM. A substantial reduction in this is a positive sign,” Ranjit Kumar Sinha, secretary, Disaster Management told reporters here.

Water has been flowing from a point near the colony since January 2.

Sinha said cracks have been noticed in 863 buildings so far and 274 families  have been evacuated to temporary relief centres.

“An amount of Rs 3.62 crore has been distributed to 242 affected families as interim relief so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, drilling machines and bulldozers were back in the town to dismantle hotels — Malari Inn and Mount View — and the PWD’s inspection bungalow as the weather cleared Saturday morning.

The demolition exercise had been temporarily halted on Friday due to bad weather following heavy snowfall and rain, adding to the woes of people living in temporary relief camps.

“Providing relief to the affected people in Joshimath is among the top priorities of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami at present,” an official release here said.

Adequate arrangements have been made at the temporary relief centres for the affected people to protect them from cold.

Heaters and blowers have been supplied to 76 families, thermal wears to 110 people, hot water bottles to 175, woollen caps to 516, warm socks to 280 and shawls to 196 people, it said.

Foodgrain kits have been supplied to 771 people, blankets to 601 and daily use kits to 114 people, the release added.

Joshimath, the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and international skiing destination Auli, appears on the edge of a precipice with gaping cracks appearing on buildings, roads and public facilities. The state government faces an uphill task providing relief and rehabilitating the affected families in brutal winter.  (PTI)