Land subsidence old issue, no link with tunnel: NTPC

Noting that it is wrong to relate the land subsidence in Joshimath with the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydroelectric Project, a senior NTPC official has said that tunnel is being built under “a competent rock” and it does not affect the surrounding rock mass.

“It is wrong to relate the situation in Joshimath with the NTPC tunnel since it is being constructed with the help of a tunnel boring machine. Out of the 12 km long tunnel, 8.5 km tunnel is being done by tunnel boring and the rest will be done by blasting. The tunnel does not pass through Joshimath,” said Rajendra Prasad Ahirwar, head of the Tapovan project.

Locals in Joshimath had held a protest and some posters have also been put up concerning the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) project.

Ahirwar said the hydroelectric project should not be linked with the present situation in the Uttarakhand hill town.

“The tunnel is being built under the rock, a very competent rock. Tunnel boring rock does not affect the surrounding rock mass so it is not possible that it will affect the current situation in the situation,” he said.

Asked about some Joshimath residents blaming the NTPC tunnel for the land subsidence situation, Bhuvnesh Kumar, Addl GM Geology, NTPC, said there is no link.

“Land subsidence is an old issue here and this tunnel (an NTPC project) has no connection with it. This 12 km tunnel is dug by a boring machine,” he said.

He said detailed studies are carried out before projects are sanctioned.

Referring to the Mishra Committee report in 1976 that Joshimath town is located on landslide material, Kumar said NTPC was not in the picture then.

The locals held a protest on January 10 and demonstrated against the NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydroelectric Project.

The construction at the project has been stopped till further orders. The protesters held banners of Mahila Mangal Dal and Panchayat Selang and protested across the streets.

Disaster Management Secretary Dr Ranjit Kumar Sinha on Tuesday said a deadline has been given to various central technical institutions to compile a study report of the area affected by subsidence in Joshimath.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Sinha said a total of 2,190 people in Joshimath and 2,205 in Pipalkoti have been shifted to temporary relief camps

The Disaster Management secretary added that the land of the Horticulture Department near TCP crossroad of Joshimath has been identified for the construction of model pre-fabricated huts for people rescued from the subsidence-hit areas.

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