Union government gives `in-principle` approval of Rs 1,465 crore for Joshimath rehabilitation; high risk zone will be fully evacuated

  • | Friday | 22nd September, 2023

DEHRADUN: The central government has given an in-principle approval of a Rs 1,465 crore package to the Uttarakhand government for rehabilitation and reconstruction of subsidence-hit Joshimath town. Confirming the development on Thursday, secretary of the state disaster management department, Ranjit Sinha, told TOI, "A total amount of Rs 1,800 crore was proposed for the rehabilitation, out of which, we got in-principle approval of Rs 1,465 crore from the central government. The remaining amount of Rs 335 crore will be borne by the state government."Sinha said that the money will be disbursed in phases, with the first installment going for rehabilitation of affected families, followed by reconstruction works. All projects will be completed within three years, he added.When asked about the areas which will be permanently banned for settlement in future, Sinha said that "high-risk zones will be evacuated, keeping in mind the safety of the residents." "Decision in this regard will be taken once we get a final order from the Union government," he added. Notably, experts have classified Joshimath town into three categories -- high-risk zone, medium-risk zone, and slight-risk zone. According to sources, almost 1/3rd of the total settlement falls under a high-risk zone.As per Chamoli district administration, the total population of Joshimath ranges from 25,000 to 26,000. Spread over an area of 2.5 sqkm, Joshimath has around 3,900 residential and 400 commercial buildings. Of these buildings, the administration had initially declared 181 buildings as unsafe. Meanwhile, concerned departments are preparing detailed project reports (DPRs) for slope stabilisation, river bank protection, drainage and sewage infrastructure improvement, and retrofitting of unsafe houses, as per senior government officials. The state government, under the rehabilitation policy for Joshimath, has given a one-time settlement to the tune of Rs 33 crore to 150 affected families. Around 296 families were evacuated by the administration and were accommodated in relief camps set up at various places in Joshimath.The problem of subsidence suddenly aggravated in January this year, after a fresh aquifer burst on the night of January 2 with major turbid water flow. This was followed by massive displacement of local people from their houses which either developed cracks or were in unsafe zones.

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