DNA Special: ISRO satellite report on Joshimath land subsidence deepens panic

The terrifying image of Joshimath slowly sinking was released by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

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As building cracks deepen, the land subsidence issue in Joshimath, Uttarkhand, has caused panic among the locals. The terrifying image of Joshimath slowly sinking was released by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Images captured by ISRO's Cartosat-2 satellite show the subsidence in Joshimath very clearly.

This report was created by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) using satellite images of the Joshimath region taken at various points in time. Between July 2020 and March 2022, scientists from IIRS Dehradun surveyed Joshimath and a six-kilometer radius around it. And based on this, Joshimath sank up to 5.4 cm between December 27, 2022, and January 8, 2023, or in just 12 days.

Joshimath had already decreased by 9 cm before this, or over the course of seven months from April 2022 to November 2022, to be exact. This indicates that within the past 12 days, more than half of the subsidence that occurred over the past seven months has taken place.

Joshimath's sinking process is not new, and the report claims that Joshimath starts to sink by about 6.62 cm, or 2.60 inches, every year. The Joshimath landslide increased significantly and started sliding down very quickly between the last week of December and the first week of January, according to ISRO's Organization National Remote Sensing Center, or NSRC. Around the same time, cracks began to appear in people's homes there, and these cracks quickly spread to include homes, hotels, roads, and even farms.

Satellite images show that Central Joshimath, including the Army Helipad and Narsingh Temple, is within this zone. The maximum subsidence has been seen close to Joshimath-Auli Road at a height of about 7152 feet, indicating that the road is extremely dangerous.

Additionally, Joshimath's army helipad and the entire city, including the Narasimha temple, have been designated as sensitive areas in these satellite images. The people of Joshimath are now demanding a robust action plan with compensation from the government as a result of these images from ISRO, which have heightened their concerns.

The District Magistrate reports that approximately 170 people have already evacuated Joshimath, and many of them have received relief. On Joshimath, the government has yet to come up with a foolproof plan, which the public is still waiting for.

Cabinet meeting decisions regarding subsidence issue

The state government has set aside Rs 45 crore to provide interim assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh to those Joshimath residents who were forced to leave their homes and relocate. This will allow them to take care of their immediate needs. Five locations close by have been chosen for these people's rehabilitation. In addition, the government will give those who were renting housing Rs 5,000 per month for six months.

This amount may be increased based on the District Magistrate of Chamoli's recommendation. Those who are residing in the relief camp will each receive Rs 450 for food. In addition, water and electricity bills have been waived from November 2022 to April 2023 for a period of six months.

Similar to this, bank recovery has been prohibited for Joshimath residents who were affected by the disaster for the following year, meaning they have received debt relief during that time. Additionally, the government has announced financial aid for animal feed for herders of livestock.

Additionally, all of the state government's ministers, including the chief minister, have declared that they will donate one month's pay to the chief minister's relief fund, which will be used to aid the Joshimath disaster victims. The Uttarakhand government is looking into the cause of the Joshimath incident and has acknowledged that it is a natural disaster.

READ | Joshimath crisis: Who is Debi Prasanna Kanungo? Scientist who demolished Noida tower asked to raze hotels


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