In Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, people’s lives have been in turmoil for the past several days due to landslides, cracks in their houses have given them sleepless nights, people’s lifetime earnings are at stake. They are pleading for help from the government. Similar is the condition of Kiruna city of Sweden. There are also cracks in people’s houses. But the difference between the two is that the buildings there will be moved.
Now the question arises that when the problems of both the places are the same, then like Sweden, if India wants to save the life and property of its people, then why can’t it take such a step? So let us explain here the difference between India and Sweden.
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden. It is famous for the largest iron-ore mine in the world. Here too, cracks have started appearing in many places since 2016. The reason for this is the work of the mine by the LKAB company. In view of this, the administration has planned to shift people three kilometers east of the city by the year 2026. In a city with a population of eighteen thousand, about 3,000 houses as well as buildings including the Kiruna Church will be shifted. Some houses will be lifted on trucks, while others will have to be carefully unloaded and rebuilt at the new location.
The characteristic of buildings and houses in Sweden is that many are made of wood, which can be easily lifted whole.
Here also people are sad to leave their place, their houses were demolished by the administration but many are happy that the administration will shift their house and building to a new place. There is a plan to shift about 6 thousand people.
What is the condition of Joshimath?
The danger of Joshimath city collapsing into the ground is continuously increasing. The cracks in the walls and buildings of many houses are getting thicker. In the last few years, cracks have also started appearing in the roads here, due to which the situation has become worrisome, because the cracks are getting bigger every hour.
In view of the situation, the work of NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugarh Hydropower Plant, Helang Bypass Road and the operation of ‘Auli Ropeway’ have also been stopped. Meanwhile, people are continuously vacating the house. In this, many are going to relief camps and many are going to rented houses. As of Friday, 117 people have shifted to rented accommodation, while 878 people are still living in relief camps.
Regarding the whole matter, the local people allege that the government did not pay heed to their warnings regarding the hasty construction of NTPC, which has led to this situation.
According to the BBC report, in the year 2013 also, concerns were expressed that the tunnels related to the hydropower project could bring destruction in Uttarakhand. At that time these projects were stopped. Joshimath municipality found in a survey conducted in December 2022 that 2882 people can be affected by such a disaster. After the Chamoli disaster on February 7, 2021, cracks started appearing in the entire Niti Valley.
Earlier, in the year 1970 also, incidents of land subsidence were reported in Joshimath. At that time, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of the then Garhwal Commissioner Mahesh Mishra. This committee said in its report in the year 1978 that big construction projects should not be run in Joshimath, Niti and Mana Valley as these areas rest on moraines (small mountain ranges).
Why can’t India?
The first is the difference in the (economic) conditions of the two countries. Second, in ‘Joshimath’ buildings have not been built like in ‘Kiruna’, which can be shifted from one place to another. Sweden is ahead of India in terms of technology. Also, the situation there is not like that of India. The standard of living in Sweden is high. The government pays attention to social welfare.
For example in Kiruna cracks are coming since 2016 and government will shift people by 2026 with complete roadmap whereas in Joshimath cracks first appeared in 1970 but till date nothing happened on it and people are living without any plan are being sent to relief camps.