When cracks appeared on Sunaina Saklani’s house in Joshimath a year ago, her father filed an application for help from authorities. But he was ridiculed saying it was the flaw in the construction. But by early 2023, almost all houses in the Himalayan town had large cracks, many were sinking to the ground.
“We think the NTPC tunnel is behind it,” Sunaina said. She is referring to the 12-kilometre tunnel, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) dug just over a kilometre away from the city which involves frequent construction explosions.
Experts back her view and argue that a big part of Himalayan instability is due to terrain-insensitive constructions.
In fact, a 1976 government report warned that the inherent fragility of Joshimath would be exacerbated by construction activities and population pressures. At the moment, 52 hydropower stations have either been constructed or are under construction in Chamoli district.
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