Land subsidence in Joshimath town is man-made ecological tragedy, says iGP


Press Statement

Unchir-Dunktok, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, 7 January 2023: The India Greens Party (iGP) today said the sinking of the Uttarakhand town of Joshimath is a man-made ecological tragedy which was avoidable.

Joshimath, a hilly town at an altitude of 1890 metres on the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway-7, serves as an important waystation on both the pilgrim and trekking circuits. It is situated on a running ridge that is cut through by streams that descend steeply from Vishnuprayag, the point where the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers converge.

In a press statement issued here at the national head office (NHO) of the party, the iGP said it is sad that the state government did not take action in time despite the cracks starting appearing in October 2021.

The party said the tragedy happened due to the negligence of the government and the hydropower projects.

It is regrettable that the government and the hydropower companies did not listen to the sane voices of the geologists and scientists who were against the tunnel and dam activities in the region.

The government-appointed Mishra Commission’s report, submitted in 1978, had advised that no major construction works be carried out in Joshimath as well as in the Niti and Mana valleys as these areas were situated on moraines.

Similarly, a recent report by geologists and scientists like Dr SP Sati, Naveen Juyal and Shubhra Sharma said that the slopes around Joshimath were in a very delicate condition and were becoming unstable.

In fact, fears were expressed way back in 2013 that tunnels that were part of the Tapovan-Vishnugad Hydro Power Project of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) could cause disasters. There were incidents of land subsidence in Joshimath in the 1970s as well.

Researchers from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology also conducted a survey in 2022 and found that these gneissic rocks were highly weathered, had a low cohesive value, and had a propensity for high pore pressure when saturated with water, especially during monsoons.

In view of the above, the India Greens Party demands that the government must take the above-mentioned reports seriously; and also listen to the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti which claimed that a tunnel that was part of the Tapovan-Vishnugad Hydropower Project had hollowed the ground from inside.

This apprehension strengthened further when muddy water started to seep from the ground in the town. The locals suspected that the water was coming from the under-construction tunnel being built uphill. Tapovan is only 15-km away from Joshimath; and the tunnel ends at Selang, about 5-km from Joshimath.

The iGP also demands that the extent to which the Tapovan-Vishnugad Hydropower Project, and Helang bypass are responsible for over 500 houses in Joshimath town developing cracks must be investigated.

The party demands that all construction and hydroelectric projects in the region be stopped immediately.

The residents must be moved to a safer area, and then the town’s planning be revised to account for the new variables and shifting geographical conditions.

The government also needs to make proper housing arrangements for the affected families and need to adequately compensate them.

One of the most important aspects that requires investigation and development is drainage planning. As more and more waste seeps into the soil, loosening it from within, the city is suffering from poor drainage and sewer management.

In order to preserve the soil capacity in the area, a tree plantation programme at a massive scale needs to be done in the region.

–        Statement issued by Suresh Nautiyal, Chief Spokesperson.


(India Greens Party is registered with the Election Commission of India under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Registration Number: 56/476/2018-19/PPS-I, effective from 18/07/2019.)

National Head Office: GreenDham AnandiChait, IndraBalbhadra Parisar, Unchir-Dunktok, SH-31, PO-Ghurdauri, Distt-Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, INDIA. PIN-246194.

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