The ‘sinking city’ of Joshimath, Uttarakhand, is on the brink of disaster as hundreds of buildings crack. Most visible is the extent of damage to the Jaypee Power Station, currently the most dangerous building in the city. People were barred from the campus because Jaypee’s condominium was destroyed.
The NDTV team found that cracks in the badminton court wall were wide enough for a human hand to slip inside. Floors are sagging and windows in the complex are crooked. The door is barely hanging from its hinges and part of the roof has collapsed.
Some rooms are barely standing. A little push can cause the wall to collapse. The toilet floor collapsed.
The entire complex has been declared the “Red Zone”, denoting the most dangerous zone, and locals and experts widely believe that the apartment building could collapse at any moment. Locals say groundwater has been flowing at high speed under the surface in recent days, weakening walls and floors. Building cracks seep through this brown, murky water.
The temple city, a gateway to popular pilgrimage sites like Badrinath, has seen major cracks in buildings and roads after years of unplanned infrastructure construction, including a hydroelectric project.
Thousands of people have been forced from their homes, and about 600 homes and hotels have been submerged in a city of about 20,000 people. Thousands of residents are transported to safety. The state government plans to demolish the most damaged buildings in the coming days.
The city is also home to a major Indian military base and has a strategic road to the disputed border with China, which has reportedly created a wide fissure.
This earthquake-prone region has seen disasters in recent years caused by melting glaciers and constant construction and excavation in the mountains. At least 200 people died in 2021 due to flash floods in Josimath and surrounding areas.
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