High priority meeting held to strategize a gameplan to douse the Joshimath crisis

New Delhi: Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr P K Mishra held a high-level review of building damage and land subsidence in Joshimath on 8th January 2023. Cabinet Secretary; Home Secretary; senior officials of Government of India; and members of National Disaster Management Authority, Chief Secretary and DGP of Uttarakhand, DM and Officials of Joshimath; Senior officers of Uttarakhand; and experts from IIT Roorkee, National Institute of Disaster Management, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology also attended the review through virtual conferencing.

It was informed that  PM Shri Narendra Modi is concerned and has reviewed the situation with the Chief Minister.

Chief Secretary Uttarakhand informed that state and district officials with the support of central experts have assessed the situation on ground. He informed that a strip of land with a width of around 350 meters is affected. One team of NDRF and four teams of SDRF have reached Joshimath.

The district administration is working with the affected families to evacuate and relocate them to safer places with adequate arrangements for food, shelter and security. SP and Commandment of SDRF are stationed at the site. Residents of Joshimath are being informed of the developments and their cooperation is being sought. Advice of experts is being sought to formulate the short-medium-long term plans.

Further, Secretary, Border Management and all four members of NDMA will visit Uttarakhand on 9th January. They will undertake a detailed assessment on the findings of the technical teams (NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, GSI, NIH, Wadia Institute, IIT Roorkee) that have just returned from Joshimath and advice State Govt. on immediate, short-medium-long-term actions to address the situation.

The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister stressed that the immediate priorities for the state should be the Safety of the people living in the affected area. State Government should establish a clear and continuous communication channel with the affected people. Immediate efforts should be to arrest the deterioration in the situation through practical measures that may be feasible. An inter-disciplinary investigation of the affected area should be undertaken. Experts from a range of central institutions— National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) should work closely with the state of Uttarakhand in the spirit of “Whole of Government” approach. A clear time-bound reconstruction plan must be prepared. Continuous seismic monitoring must be done. Using this opportunity, a risk sensitive urban development plan for Joshimath should also be developed.

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