The Uttarakhand government has shifted 995 members of 296 families from subsidence-hit Joshimath to safer places, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
In written replies to three different questions in the Upper House, Mr Singh said cracks have been observed in 863 buildings in Joshimath due to recent land subsidence and many structures have been reported to have moderate and major damages.
He said after the incidents of land subsidence, all construction activities have been stayed by the Uttarakhand government in the entire Joshimath area, including the Tapovan-Vishnugad power project and Helong Marwari By-Pass Road.
As of January 30, a total of 235 affected families have been distributed Rs 3.50 crores as relief assistance, he said.
Mr Singh said the Uttarakhand government has issued orders for payment of Rs 1,00,000 as an advance for rehabilitation, and Rs 50,000 as displacement allowance to each affected family and for this purpose, Rs 45 crores have been released.
The Earth Sciences minister said the Mahesh Chandra Mishra Committee, set up in 1976, had suggested that heavy construction should be allowed in Joshimath only after examining the load-bearing capacity of the ground condition.
He said in hill stations, there was no blanket ban on residential commercial construction, but the local administration can take a decision on imposing restrictions, based on hazard risks.
Mr Singh said the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has prepared landslide susceptibility maps for the hill areas, many of which have unstable and dynamic geology.
“These maps are to be taken into account by the local administration in development planning,” he said.
The minister noted that environmental clearance was mandatory before any major construction project was taken up in the Himalayan region.
Joshimath was located on a thick cover of very old landslide materials with large boulders of gneiss and fragments of basic schist rocks observed to be embedded in grey coloured silty sandy matrix, he said.
Mr Singh said the state government has arranged temporary accommodation for the affected families for which Rs 950 per room per day, and for meals, Rs 450 per person was being provided.
“Those not availing these temporary accommodation, an allowance of Rs 5,000 per month is being provided to affected families for six months,” he said.
Mr Singh said free medical check-ups and free medicines were also provided to the affected people in the relief camps.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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