Residents of the “sinking town” Joshimath in Uttarakhand wrote to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami thrice last month, alerting him about the repercussions of blasts in the tunnels of the NTPC plant nearby, letters accessed by NDTV show. The ground shook and initial cracks in houses and roads started appearing due to the blasts from the under-construction power plant, barely a kilometre from the holy town, in December itself, when panicked residents urged the Chief Minister to take action. However, no preventive action was taken, locals said.
Residents wrote three letters, each with increasing urgency, as cracks grew wider. The situation worsened, and now over 600 families are being evacuated from Joshimath after a temple collapsed, and several houses developed wide cracks.
The state government has swung into action, deploying choppers and putting rescue and relief services on top gear as the town, gateway to several religious pilgrimages, threatens to sink.
Joshimath is the winter seat of Lord Badrinath, whose idol is brought down from the main Badrinath temple to Vasudeva temple in Joshimath every winter. It falls under one of the country’s most active seismically regions — officially classified as Zone-V (very severe intensity zone).