The owner of one of the hotels identified for demolition in Uttarakhand's "sinking" town Joshimath has said he supports the administration's move, but alleged that no valuation of the property has been done.
Malari Inn has been marked for demolition as the administration works overtime to contain the crisis in Joshimath, where cracks have appeared in hundreds of houses and hotels. Land subsidence, meaning the sinking or settling of the ground surface, has been identified as the cause. Another hotel, Mount View, will also be brought down, officials said.
Uttarakhand | Demolition of Hotel Malari Inn in Joshimath to begin shortly. SDRF deployed at the spot & announcements being made through loudspeakers for people to go to safer places.— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) January 10, 2023
Experts decided to demolish Hotel Malari Inn & Hotel Mount View after they were declared unsafe pic.twitter.com/ofPnc8h4cT
"If being demolished in public interest, I am with government and the administration, even if there are only partial cracks in my hotel. But I should have been given a notice and valuation should have been made," Thakur Singh Rana, owner of Malari Inn, told news agency ANI.
Disaster response teams are on the ground and public announcements are warning people to move to safer areas before the demolition exercise begins. Two hotels
Manikant Mishra, Commandant of the state disaster response force, said, "Of the two hotels, Malari Inn will be demolished in a step-wise manner today. This is being done because both the hotels have tilted and come very close to each other."
Of the two hotels, Malari Inn will be demolished in a step-wise manner today. First of all, the top portion will be demolished. It is being done because both the hotels have tilted and have come very close to each other due to the sinking: Manikant Mishra, Commandant, SDRF pic.twitter.com/fz3cN53mg4— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) January 10, 2023
The hotels were declared unsafe after an inspection by experts.
The town has been divided into three zones, 'Danger', 'Buffer', and 'Completely Safe', on the basis of a risk assessment after 600 buildings developed cracks.
District magistrate Himanshu Khurana said buildings in the unsafe and buffer zones are being vacated. "Today a team from Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, will come here and identify the buildings that need to be demolished. Further action will be taken under their guidance," he said.
Scores of families have been moved to relief camps and the town declared disaster-prone. The National Disaster Response Team has also been called in to assist with the rescue work.