New Joshimath: Activist demands town on the lines of 'New Tehri'. But where will it appear?

 Land subsidence is a'silent tragedy' that has gripped the Himalayas of Uttarakhand; around 500 communities in the state are already in a Joshimath-like predicament.

People of Joshimath, led by the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, demanded that a new town be established for those affected by land subsidence in the area on January 13, 2023.

While the government has yet to respond, issues about where the new town should be built have already surfaced, considering that ground subsidence is a "silent calamity" that has taken hold in the Uttarakhand Himalayas.

In a statement, the Samiti's convenor, Atul Sati, requested the government to construct a new Joshimath. He urged the administration to convene a group of experts to select a site for the new town.

Sati and others have suggested that the new town be modelled after New Tehri. In the 2010s, the old town of Tehri and its neighbouring villages in Uttarakhand were submerged for the Tehri Hydro Project, and a new settlement was established for the Tehri people.

Sati stated that the new Joshimath should be located in a location that will not be harmed for the next 100 years. A careful evaluation of the future city's carrying capacity should also be conducted. Construction work should be governed by tight laws that must be followed. Heavy construction should not be permitted in the new town.

He also sought restitution for the people of Joshimath. The National Thermal Power Corporation should provide a compensation of Rs 1 crore to each individual (NTPC).

NTPC is building the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project, and the tunnel being dug for it is being blamed for Joshimath's current state.

Where will be New Joshimath ?

However, the question of where the new Joshimath will be established emerges.

Joshimath is not the only place in Uttarakhand where people are being displaced and must relocate. In the state, over 500 settlements will be relocated.

The majority of these settlements are located near hydroelectric projects.

So far, no safe haven for these villagers has been located. Consider the village of Chai, which lies directly across the river from Joshimath. Houses in Chai collapsed as a result of the hydropower project beneath them. However, the villages have yet to be reimbursed.

The 18 affected families were relocated to Joshimath's Marwari neighbourhood. However, they are currently exposed to Joshimath's ground subsidence. The question of where to settle the displaced people remains in such a situation.

SP Sati, a geologist and the chairman of the department of basic and social sciences at Uttarakhand University of Horticulture and Forestry's College of Forestry, said it was extremely difficult to conserve regions in situations similar to Joshimath.

He went on to say that the effort to save Joshimath was too little, too late.

The administration has yet to comment on Joshimath's alleged survival.

According to the Geological Report of India survey, plans would be made for the inhabitants of Joshimath to stay in four safe sites during the Cabinet meeting on January 12. However, it is unclear whether this recovery would be temporary or permanent.

Joshimath, according to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary SS Sandhu, was a "nature disaster" rather than a "man-made disaster" on January 13. He stated that the Centre was awaiting the report of the experts from seven different organisations designated by the Centre to investigate why the incident occurred.