Issues Related to Joshimath Sinking Before HC: Uttarakhand Govt to Delhi HC

Issues related to the sinking of Joshimath are being looked into by the high court in Uttarakhand following an order of the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court was informed on Tuesday.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma was hearing a petition by lawyer Rohit Dandriyal seeking to direct the Centre to constitute a committee headed by a retired judge to look into the matter and rehabilitate the affected families soon.

The petitioner’s “prayers have already been met”, counsel for the Uttarakhand government told a bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.

“There are two things. He (petitioner) is asking for a high-powered committee and rehabilitation. Both the issues, the Supreme Court has sent to Uttarakhand. All that is now before the Uttarakhand High Court,” he said.

The plea was subsequently withdrawn by the petitioner from the high court.

Last month, the Uttarakhand government told the bench that authorities were rehabilitating the affected families of Joshimath and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as the SDRF have also been deployed in the area. It also claimed that a rehabilitation package was being prepared and a lot of relief work was going on.

Joshimath, the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and international skiing destination Auli, is sinking gradually with huge cracks developing in houses, roads and fields there. Many houses have suffered subsidence, locals said.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had earlier ordered immediate evacuation of 600 families living in houses at risk.

Highlighting the problems of over 3,000 people in the town, Dandriya’s plea claimed that cracks have been developed in at least 570 houses due to continued land subsidence.

It said construction activities done by the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways and Power, New and Renewable Energy in past years have worked as catalyst in the present scenario and have violated the fundament rights of residents in the town.

On January 16, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea seeking to declare the crisis in subsidence-hit Joshimath a national disaster, saying the state high court is seized of a “broad range of issues” and should hear it as a matter of principle. 

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