Joshimath: India is a land of wide-ranging shrines depicting the holy believing of the Indian populace. However, these have recently been eroding and forming a narrative of forgotten history. While some are struggling with the polity involved and some are under the disaster caused by man-made and natural factors.
On the other hand, the incumbent Modi government is evolving as no less than a savior of faiths. From Somnath to Gyanvapi, the government is insanely working on replenishing the Indic glory. What now needs the government’s urgent attention is the sinking winter home of Bhagavan Badri, Joshimath, which is gradually losing its grandeur.
Joshimath is sinking with man-made and natural calamities
Recently, the scientists of Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, emphasized constant monitoring and detailed investigation regarding the dilapidated state of Joshimath. It was revealed that the houses in the area have started to develop cracks and subsidence on the houses and roads.
In a study of scientists, it was also revealed that lack of drainage, improper construction of buildings, erosion of river, and rapid construction projects, are making the Joshimath area vulnerable to natural calamities. It was after the complaints received by villagers, that scientists studied the scenic hill station of Uttarakhand.
The expert panel set up by the Uttarakhand government found that many areas of Chamoli district’s Joshimath town, which carries a huge holy believings, are sinking due to both man-made and natural factors. As a result, it was also reported that the government might be lying down a construction ban as well as relocation of local residents from unsafe areas.
The expert panel also found that several pockets of Joshimath town are sinking due to speedy soil erosion, seismic causes and landslides. Further, it was claimed by some local residents, that the report failed to mention another factor that is causing structural damage to buildings. It was an under-construction tunnel of the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project, which passes from through the town.
Joshimath: A sinking site with strategic importance
Joshimath town located at a height of over 6,000 feet in Uttarakhand and is considered a place of huge strategic importance due to its proximity to India- China border. It is also the gateway to Badrinath mandir, Sikh shrine Hemkund Sahib, skiing destination of Auli and UNESCO world heritage site ‘valley of flowers’.
Jyotirmath or Joshimath is beleived to be established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in around 8th century AD. The area also carries the oldest tree of India, around 1200 years old Kalpvriksha tree. However, the town is located over a thick sheet of landslide material, which makes it a danger prone area.
It is a town of great significance holding the heritage and culture of India. It simply attracts a huge quantitative ratio of tourists. It should be preserved and protected at all costs. A pilgrimage is necessarily a place to purify the mind and soul, whereas tourism essentially involves in relaxation of the mind and escaping concrete jungles of metro cities. The point of tourism is to have fun and indulge in recreation. For this purpose, its intrinsic to preserve the sinking holy site.
On the other hand, Modi government’s efforts to improve India’s tourism infrastructure has shown some concrete results. The country has moved six places in global Travel and Tourism (T&T) competitiveness index, as per 2019 report of Business Standard. The incumbent government is very serious about developing India as a major tourist destination in the world, and it has taken series of steps to improve the infrastructure.
From Somnath to Gyanvapi, the Modi governemnt has revived several sites of strategic importance for tourism. Considering Gyanvapi, the government didn’t leave any stone unturned in re-establishing the eroded presence of Hindu shrines. What needs government’s more stretched attention is the Uttarakhand town of Joshimath. Keeping in mind its strategic importance, amid the growing tensions on the India- China border, Joshimath needs an urgent attention before it gets sinked.
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