In the aftermath of structural fissures that emerged in several Joshimath residences in January, the state government took the proactive step of enlisting the services of eight reputable technical institutions to conduct an exhaustive analysis.
However, recent concerns have arisen over the Uttarakhand High Court’s decision to keep the consequential reports, meticulously prepared by esteemed central scientific and technical institutions, concealed from the public eye.
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This issue came to the forefront as a division bench, presided over by Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Kumar Verma, expressed their reservations. In their remarks on the matter, the bench asserted, “We see no valid reason for the state government to maintain secrecy around these expertly crafted reports. The public, in fact, has a rightful claim to access these findings, as their dissemination could provide invaluable insights.
Such transparency would engender confidence among the citizenry, demonstrating the government’s earnestness in addressing the situation that has unfolded in the affected regions.”
The issue was raised in the context of a recall application submitted by the state government, specifically pertaining to the involvement of the chief secretary in the case. Subsequently, the court granted the chief secretary an exemption from personal appearance and offered succinct commentary on the reports. The state had presented sealed copies of these reports for scrutiny during the hearing.
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The origins of this situation trace back to January, when structural vulnerabilities became evident in numerous Joshimath residences. In response, the government swiftly engaged the services of eight technical institutions to compile a comprehensive study report. Nevertheless, it is the subsequent decision to withhold these pivotal findings that has sparked inquiries and apprehensions within the state.