Joshimath sinking: SC agrees to hear plea on January 16
Stressing that every minute is important, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S.S. Sandhu directed immediate evacuation of people from the affected zone in Joshimath, which is facing land subsidence.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on January 16 a plea seeking the court's intervention to declare the crisis in Uttarakhand's Joshimath as a national disaster.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha, however, refused to list the plea, filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, for urgent hearing saying everything important should not come to it directly.
"There are democratically elected institutions to look into it. Everything important should not come to us. We will list it on January 16," the CJI said.
The plea was mentioned by advocate Parmeshwar Nath Mishra, appearing for Swami Saraswati.
Saraswati has contended that the incident has occurred due to large-scale industrialisation and sought immediate financial assistance and compensation to the people of Uttarakhand.
The plea has also sought direction to the National Disaster Management Authority to actively support the residents of Joshimath in this challenging time.
"No development is needed at the cost of human life and their ecosystem and if any such thing is to happen, then it is the duty of the State and Union government to stop the same immediately at war level," the plea of the Seer said.
Stressing that every minute is important, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S.S. Sandhu on Monday directed immediate evacuation of people from the affected zone in Joshimath, which is facing land susidence.
Earlier, a bulletin from the Disaster Management Authority Chamoli said that cracks have appeared in 678 houses so far while 82 families have been shifted to safe locations in the town.
Sandhu held a meeting with the concerned departments at the State Secretariat to review the situation in Joshimath.
Addressing a Press conference, Secretary, Disaster Management Department, Ranjit Sinha, who was also present in the meeting, informed on Monday that 38 families have been shifted to rented houses. They are being given the rent amount as per the norms of the state government.
Sinha said that the two highly damaged hotels Malari Inn and Mount View would be demolished mechanically. For this, a team of CBRE was sent, through which the work of survey etc has been done. The Housing and Urban Development Department has been instructed to prepare a master plan for Joshimath. Work will be started immediately to prevent toe erosion. For this cooperation of technical institution will be taken.
The Disaster Management Secretary informed that a committee will be constituted at the government level under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary to conduct relief works. Similarly, a committee will be constituted at the district level under the chairmanship of the commissioner. The tender for Joshimath's drainage plan, which was earlier to be opened on January 20, will now be opened on January 13 in view of the present situation.
Apart from this, every day at 12 o'clock the Chief Secretary will hold a review meeting with regard to Joshimath.
The Secretary informed that the State Government is in touch with the Government of India and assistance is being received. If required, a package will be prepared and sent to the Central Government. At present, it has been decided to relocate people at three places, Koti Colony, Pipalkoti and Jadibooti Sansthan.
The current ground situation at Joshimath is perilous to say the least. Additional police has been deployed in case the law and order situation takes a grave turn. The demolition of the two hotels will be carried out today because if they sink any further, they might run the risk of collapsing.
Speaking to Times of India, Manikant Mishra, commandant, SDRF, said, "Of the two hotels, Malari Inn will be demolished in a step-wise manner today. First of all, the top portion will be demolished. It is being done because both the hotels have tilted and have come very close to each other due to the sinking."
(With inputs from agencies)