Q1: Why is Joshimath in Uttarakhand facing a crisis?
A1: Joshimath, a significant hill town in Uttarakhand, is experiencing severe land subsidence, leading to the development of cracks in buildings and roads. This crisis is attributed to geological factors and human activities like unregulated construction.
Q2: What makes Joshimath’s situation alarming?
A2: The town is not only a hub for tourists and pilgrims but also strategically important, housing military establishments. Its geological position in a seismic zone and the ongoing construction exacerbate its fragile condition.
Q3: Has the crisis in Joshimath been sudden?
A3: No, the crisis has been gradual. Locals had warned about land subsidence for years. Studies indicate that unscientific construction practices, including tunneling for hydro-electric projects, have contributed to the town’s instability.
Q4: What steps have been taken in response to the crisis?
A4: The state government formed an expert panel for investigation. Demolition of vulnerable buildings and relocation of residents are underway. However, protests by locals and demands for a proper survey of damaged properties have slowed the process.
Q5: What are the long-term concerns for Joshimath and similar towns?
A5: Besides Joshimath, other hill towns like Mussoorie, Nainital, and Karnaprayag face similar threats due to unregulated development in ecologically fragile zones. The state government plans a technical survey to assess the bearing capacity of these towns.