NDRF, SDRF looking after Joshimath issue: Uttarakhand govt to Delhi High Court [12.1.2023]

Uttarakhand government informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday that the affected areas in Joshimath were being handled by the National and State Disaster Response Forces (SDRF).

This comes after a plea was moved to the HC requesting that the Centre establish a high-powered joint committee to investigate the sinking of the Joshimath.

J.K. Sethi, Deputy Advocate General of Uttarakhand submitted at the court that two committees have already been formed with a rehabilitation package being prepared.

A division bench headed by Justice Satish Chander Sharma was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Rohit Dandriyal.

The bench was informed that both the state and Centre are seized of the matter.

Sethi said: "We have deployed NDRF, we are working on the issue. We have resettled and relocated many people, we are working on that. We are seized of the matter. Ground work is being done."

As Sethi informed the court that the Supreme Court will be hearing a similar PIL on January 16, Dandriyal sought for a short adjournment and said that he will withdraw the plea on the next date of hearing if some order is passed by the SC.

The petition was filed for the affected districts of Joshimath, asking for the formation of a commission and ordering members of all pertinent ministries to look into this immediately.

The argument made in the petition was that the construction work done in Joshimath in previous years served as a trigger for the current situation and that by doing so, the respondents infringed the inhabitants' fundamental rights.

The argument also claimed that the respondent is currently required to behave as a welfare state and is obligated to provide its inhabitants with contemporary, livable housing.

It further stated that it is imperative that the Government of India recognise the hardship of the residents of the Garhwal region and take action to give them access to the necessities for a decent living.

The plea stated: "In one of the strangest phenomena to strike the holy town nestled in the serene hills of Chamoli at a height of 6,000 ft, houses started developing cracks and damages since 2021, leaving residents anxious and worried. Since the first reports of the cracks in 2021 after landslides in Chamoli, over 570 houses have sustained damages or cracks as residents experienced seismic tremors repeatedly in the subsequent years."

"It is home to one of the four cardinal pithas established by Adi Shankara. Since February 7, 2021, the area was severely affected by the 2021 Uttarakhand flood and its aftermath," the plea further read.

On January 9, the HC asked the petitioner to see if any similar plea has been moved in the Supreme Court as well.

12 Jan 2023