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Ashish Tripathi | DHNS | New Delhi | Jan 07, 2023:: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre and the National Disaster Management Authority to immediately intervene to assist the reparation work by the Uttarakhand government to provide urgent relief to the people of Joshimath, facing extremities and danger to their life and property.
The PIL was filed by Jagatguru Shankaracharya Jyotirmath Jyotishpeethadheeshwar Shri Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati Ji Maharaj Jyotirmath, Badarikashram.
The plea cited threat to life of people due to imminent and sudden cases of land subsidence, land sliding, sudden eruption of water, cracking of houses and agriculture plots resulted on account of man made activities which given rise to recurrent natural calamities, earlier found very rarely.
The NTPC, while taking up the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Electric Project in the year 2003, had agreed to provide insurance coverage for any future loss to life and safety of the people of Joshimath so that they can be compensated against loss of human lives and their houses as well as other properties but have done nothing till date, it claimed.
“As a result of said project and due to large scale human intervention, a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Nanda Devi National Park in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February 7, 2021, causing flash flood in Rishiganga and Dhauliganga River, devastating among others the village Rini, the Dhauliganga Dam, the Rishi Ganga dam, Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Plant, killing and endangering people. At least 31 people were confirmed to have been killed and around 165 were reported missing after the flash flood,” it said.
The project, which received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in February 2005, was ravaged by flash floods triggered by a glacial burst.
“More than 200 people working inside the tunnels of the Tapovan project and the Rishi Ganga hydel project had reportedly perished,” it pointed out.
The petitioner, a religious preacher, sought a declaration of the current incidents of land sliding, subsidence, land sinking, land burst and cracks in the land and properties as national disaster, with a direction to the National Disaster Management Authority to actively support the residents of Joshimath in this tough time.
The plea filed through advocate Anjani Kumar Mishra sought a direction to the state government to provide immediate financial assistance and compensation to the people of Uttarakhand loosing their houses and lands on account of land sliding, land sinking, subsidence and cracking of houses and properties.
It also pleaded for a direction to the authorities to rehabilitate the affected citizens of Joshimath at safer and suitable places convenient to them; and take effective and proactive steps to protect the spiritual and religious and cultural places of Hindus including Sikhs at Joshimath; especially the Jyotirmath and adjoining sacred shrines/temples wherein deities are being worshipped since time immemorial.
It also sought a direction to immediately stop construction and building work of the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Electric Project tunnel and not to begin again till the high level committee of geologists, hydrologists and engineers constituted by this by this court framed the guidelines in this regard.
Courtesy: The Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times, TINE & ANI.