In Joshi Math, one of the holiest towns in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, residential houses are sinking into the ground and residents have been waiting for months for help that has yet to be provided.
According to the American news agency AP, Joshi Mutt, located at an altitude of about 1800 meters (six thousand feet) above sea level, is the main access route to several important religious places in the Himalayas through which thousands of pilgrims pass every year.
The population of Joshi Math consists of about 20 thousand people. In January, the issue of houses sinking into the ground made global headlines, but by then it was too late.
More than 860 houses in the town are uninhabitable due to cracks.
Atal Sati, a social activist for the Save Joshi Math Committee, says, “The rifts are getting bigger day by day and people are in fear.” We have been talking about this disaster for years. It is a ticking time bomb.
Experts and social activists say Joshi Math’s future is at risk due to climate change, as well as construction for tourists and the construction of roads and tunnels for a nearby hydroelectric project.
In February 2021, at least 200 people were killed in floods in and around Joshi Mutt.
“You can’t build anything anywhere just because it’s allowed,” said environmentalist Wimlindu Jha. For a short time it may be development, but in reality it is destruction.
240 families have been forced to migrate from Joshi Math and they have no idea if they will ever be able to return to their homes.
Prabhasati left her home in a hurry last month when large cracks started to appear.
Tears filled his eyes, and he said, “We built this house with great difficulty.” Now I had to leave everything behind. Everything will be destroyed.
The government is pushing ahead with expensive projects in the area, including a hydropower station and a highway, despite warnings from experts.