PMO holds high-level review on Joshimath situation
New Delhi, January 8, 2023
Dr P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, held a high-level review of the land subsidence and building damages reported from the town of Joshimath in Uttarakhand.
The Cabinet Secretary; Home Secretary; senior officials of Government of India; and members of National Disaster Management Authority, Chief Secretary and DGP of Uttarakhand, DM and officials of Joshimath; senior officers of Uttarakhand; and experts from IIT Roorkee, National Institute of Disaster Management, Geological Survey of India, and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology also attended the review through video-conference.
The meeting was told that Prime Minister Narendra was concerned and had reviewed the situation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
Uttarakhand Chief Secretary informed the meeting that state and district officials with the support of central experts have assessed the situation on ground.
He said that a strip of land with a width of around 350 meters is affected. One team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and four teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have reached Joshimath.
The district administration is working with the affected families to evacuate and relocate them to safer places with adequate arrangements for food, shelter and security. The Superintendent of Police and the Commandment of SDRF are stationed at the site.
Residents of Joshimath are being informed of the developments and their cooperation is being sought. Advice of experts is being sought to formulate the short-medium-long term plans, he said.
The Secretary, Border Management and all four members of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will visit Uttarakhand tomorrow. They will undertake a detailed assessment on the findings of the technical teams (NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, GSI, NIH, Wadia Institute, IIT Roorkee) that have just returned from Joshimath and advise the State Government on immediate, short-, medium-, and long-term actions to address the situation.
Dr Mishra stressed that the immediate priorities for the state should be the safety of the people living in the affected area.
He said the State Government should establish a clear and continuous communication channel with the affected people.
He said the immediate efforts should be to arrest the deterioration in the situation through practical measures that may be feasible. An inter-disciplinary investigation of the affected area should be undertaken.
Experts from a range of central institutions— NDMA, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) should work closely with the state of Uttarakhand in the spirit of “Whole of Government” approach, he said.
A clear time-bound reconstruction plan must be prepared. Continuous seismic monitoring must be done. Using this opportunity, a risk sensitive urban development plan for Joshimath should also be developed, he added.