In Joshimath, Uttarakhand, 38 families residing in Pagnau village are being relocated to safer areas due to ongoing landslide risks, adding to the list of families displaced by natural disasters in the region.
A joint team comprising officials from the Chamoli district administration and experts recently visited Pagnau and recommended the relocation of families living in precarious proximity to the hilly terrain.
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Kumkum Joshi, the sub-divisional magistrate of Joshimath, declared, “We have decided to move families from the affected areas. The village is witnessing continuous landslides, and a significant landslide on Monday damaged three houses, endangering 38 families in the high-risk zone.”
She added, “We are currently assessing the value of the houses and land owned by the affected families. This count may increase. Initially, they may be temporarily relocated, with permanent arrangements to follow.”
Rima Devi, the panchayat chief, disclosed that Pagnau had seen the destruction of 11 houses in the past two months. Moreover, a government school, a forest department outpost, and an anganwadi center fell victim to frequent landslides. Seventeen families had previously been relocated to a nearby area, and officials have now identified an additional 38 households for relocation. The goal is to find permanent shelter in safer locations for all 55 families affected.
Meanwhile, residents of Kaunja village in the Chamoli district have also voiced the urgent need for relocation to safer areas. Ongoing rainfall has led to boulders descending from the hills, causing damage to agricultural fields and homes.
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Nand Kishore Joshi, the district disaster management officer of Chamoli, assured that the government is cognizant of the situation and intends to implement measures to address the landslide-prone areas in the village and prevent further erosion.
Joshimath town has been grappling with land subsidence issues, with over 850 houses and 50 road locations developing cracks between January and August 2023 due to sinking land. Approximately 145 families have accepted the state government’s rehabilitation package, totaling Rs 31 crore. These families have relocated to peripheral areas of the town or other regions. Nevertheless, several families continue to reside in government-provided shelters while awaiting better alternatives.