A preliminary test report from the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) in land subsidence-affected Joshimath in Uttarakhand suggests that the water gushing out from cracks in the town is different from the water in the NTPC tunnel in Tapovan.
Following angry protests by residents of Joshimath in the wake of cracks appearing across the town, the state government had asked the NIH to collect water samples from JP colony, where about 15 ft-long cracks had appeared on a boundary wall with water gushing out from them, and the NTPC’s tunnel project and match the two samples.
The step was taken amid allegations that the land subsidence in Joshimath was connected to the NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project. The NTPC had denied the allegations, saying its 12.1-km-long tunnel did not pass under Joshimath, and because the tunnel was dug by a boring machine, no blasting was being carried out presently.
“A team of scientists from NIH visited the two sites with us on January 5 and 6 and collected samples from JP Colony in Joshimath and the Tapovan tunnel. A preliminary report submitted by the NIH suggests that the properties and composition of both the samples are different from each other. However, this is just a preliminary report and the NIH has asked for another week to submit the final report,” Secretary of Disaster Management Ranjit Kumar Sinha told The Indian Express.
Briefing the media on the work being done in the disaster-hit areas, Sinha on Thursday said the crack meters installed by Central Building Research Institute have indicated no increase in the width of the cracks in the last three days.
However, the water discharge near JP Colony, which had reduced to 100 LPM (litres per minute) on Wednesday from 540 LPM in the first week of January, once again increased to 150 LPM on Thursday.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also held an assessment meeting with senior officials in Dehradun and said work on a future plan should start quickly after getting reports from all technical institutions and scientists on the reason behind the land subsidence.
“Today, CM Dhami held a meeting with senior state officials regarding ongoing relief work in Joshimath. He was updated about the status of the work done by various central government and state government technical institutions. He instructed that the disaster management work should be done with full promptness. He said there will be no shortage of funds in the work of disaster management in Joshimath,” said Sinha, adding that the CM instructed the Urban Development Department to prepare effective urban town planning for each district. Instructions have also been issued for effective arrangement of drainage and sewer system in hill towns, said Sinha.
“The treatment work will be ensured at a quick speed after study reports are submitted. Suggestions from locals will be taken for the resettlement of those affected. The Chamoli district magistrate has been directed to compile suggestions from the locals and send it to the government at the earliest. CM Dhami has also directed the officials to make a phase-wise plan for drainage and sewerage in cities where such a system is not in place,” read a statement issued by the state government.