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Cracks on Badrinath National Highway trigger concern over annual pilgrimage

Gopeshwar: The sinking of soil at several places in Joshimath on the highway to Badrinath has triggered concern over the annual yatra to the holy shrine that is just four months away.

The Badrinath National Highway from the TCP area to Marwari Bridge was prone to landslides for a long time, but after the recent subsidence, it is now sinking at more places.

Dinesh Lal, a resident of Joshimath said his house was damaged due to cracks that appeared on January 2 and 3. Around that time, the biggest landslide on the highway took place.

“On the same day, a landslide near JP Colony washed away a large portion of the road,” he added. The subsidence of the highway can be seen in the areas of Singhdhar ward on the bypass road, the motorway leading to Narsingh temple, Gorang and Marwari.

Two nearby hotels ‘Mountview’ and ‘Malari Inn’ are being demolished after being declared unsafe after cracks appeared in scores of houses in Joshimath. While the highway leads to Mana Pass via Badrinath Dham from Joshimath, a road from the town of Govind Ghat -- 15 km from Joshimath -- turns to Sri Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers.

Every year during the Char Dham pilgrimage that starts in April-May, heavy traffic is witnessed on the highway.

Speaking on the damage caused by landslides and cracks on the highway, Chamoli District Disaster Management Officer Nand Kishore Joshi said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is assessing the situation. He said the road is damaged due to the landslides, but the traffic here is going on as before. BRO sources said there are landslides at seven or eight places on the highway, as a result of which some places are already sinking.

Efforts are on to improve the road and meetings are going on between BRO officials and the state government on this issue, he added. According to sources, the government is waiting for the reports of the technical institutions involved in the investigation of various aspects of the landslide.

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