Hundreds Forced to Flee Indian Temple Town as Land Sinks

Residents of Joshimath in Uttarakhand state were shocked when a temple collapsed due to sinking of land leading to the appearance of cracks in 600 houses. District officials have shifted more than 60 over families to temporary relief camps and more may be moved in the near future. There have been no injuries reported in the temple collapse and evacuation of nearby residents had been done a day in advance.

Apart from the visible cracks in the roads, the much-awaited project of connecting Hindu pilgrimage sites via the Chardham all-weather road and a trolley project in Auli have been held up as a result of the land subsidence. The Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority has warned that any construction on the hills that involves removing boulders and blasting could lead to environmental damages.

In the wake of the 2013 cloudburst and 2021 floods, fast shrinking glaciers due to climate change have been blamed as one of the causes. The influx of tourists and increase in constructions contributed to the land sinking.

In response to the plight of affected families, the government will offer a monthly stipend of INR 4000 for six months in addition to relief camps for those rendered homeless.

Meera Rawat, a resident of Joshimath remembers noticing the first crack her home on September 2020. By December, she vacated the house in anticipation of a more serious threat.

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