Home Dehradun Earthquake in U’khand may prove dangerous for Joshimath

Earthquake in U’khand may prove dangerous for Joshimath


SDC Foundation’s UDAS report expresses concern over tilt in Tungnath Temple

By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 9 Jun: Dehradun-based think tank SDC Foundation released its eighth report and fifth of this year for the month of May. The report highlights some of the major disasters or issues of concern that were seen or noticed in May.  Speaking to Garhwal Post, SDC Founder Anoop Nautiyal, reiterated that the purpose of the Uttarakhand Disaster and Accident Synopsis (UDAS) report is the documentation and compilation of major disasters and accidents that occur in the state of Uttarakhand throughout the month. The report is mainly based on news reports published in credible Hindi and English newspapers and news portals.

Nautiyal expressed the hope that Uttarakhand UDAS will be of use to the political leadership, policy makers, officials, researchers, educational institutions, civil society organisations and media houses. Along with being an impetus for change, UDAS will also be helpful in the development of policies for the reduction of losses due to accidents and disasters in Uttarakhand.

According to the May 2023 UDAS Report, there were no major natural disasters or road accidents in the state during the month of May. However, new research has emerged regarding the Joshimath landslide. Assistant Professor Vipin Kumar from the Department of Geology at Doon University has conducted this research, which suggests that, if an earthquake similar to Chamoli and Uttarkashi occurs in the near future, the land in the affected Joshimath area could subside or move by 20 to 21 metres.

The UDAS Report highlights news about the Tungnath Temple experiencing a tilt of 6 to 10 degrees and cracks appearing at the Tiffin Top tourist spot in Nainital, leading to its closure for tourists.

In the UDAS report, detailed information about the recent research conducted by Dr Vipin Kumar, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at Doon University, has been provided. According to the research conducted by Dr Vipin Kumar, Joshimath is in a vulnerable condition. If an earthquake with a magnitude 6 or higher on the Richter Scale strikes Uttarakhand as had happened in Uttarkashi in 1991 or Chamoli in 1999, the land in Joshimath could subside/move by 20 to 21 metres.

Dr Vipin Kumar states that this research on land displacement in Joshimath is based on studies related to the rainfall, sewage and earthquake data. Joshimath is located in the Main Central Thrust (MCT) zone, where the likelihood of earthquakes is high. The UDAS report informs that around 132 families were staying in state-run shelters in Joshimath till the end of April 2023 and were initially asked to vacate these shelters. However, some families were later offered alternative places to stay. Additionally, several houses, which were earlier under green zone and considered safe by experts, have also started developing cracks.

The Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (JBSS), a collective of citizens concerned, had organised a large-scale protest march on 11 May. The Uttarakhand government gave permission to re-start the construction work on Helang Marwari bypass. The work on the project was stopped on 5 January, this year in view of the buildings developing cracks in the town of Joshimath.

Tilt in Tungnath Temple: The UDAS Report also mentions the news of a 6 to 10 degrees tilt in the Tungnath Temple, the world’s highest located Shiva temple in Uttarakhand. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted a study and found that the Tungnath Temple, situated at an elevation of approximately 12,800 feet in the Rudraprayag district, has experienced a tilt of around 5 to 6 degrees. In the smaller structures within the temple complex, the tilt has been recorded up to 10 degrees. Officials of the ASI have informed the central government about this matter.

Cracks in Tiffin Top: The incident of cracks occurring in a prominent tourist destination in Nainital and leading to its closure for tourists has also been highlighted in the UDAS Report. Tiffin Top is located at an elevation of 2,290 meters and is a favourite destination for tourists visiting Nainital as it offers a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. The report states that Nainital is highly susceptible to landslides. In a major landslide that occurred in 1880, 151 people had lost their lives in Baliyanala.

Anoop Nautiyal has been stressing on adopting the Odisha Model of Disaster Management in Uttarakhand. Speaking to Garhwal Post, he stressed that Uttarakhand is a highly ecologically sensitive state from the point of view of disasters and natural calamities. Scientists have been continuously raising the possibility of large-scale landslides and earthquakes in the near future. In such a situation, there is a dire need to strengthen the disaster management system, especially in the mountainous region of the state.