No link between Hydropower projects and Joshimath subsidence: Power Minister

Power Minister R.K. Singh on Tuesday said that NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project has nothing to do with the land subsidence issue being faced in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath town, the problem is with the area’s land.

He also ruled out review of the ongoing hydropower projects in hilly areas.

In an interview to a media outlet on the sidelines of the ongoing Davos WEF meet, Singh further said that hydropower projects won’t be stopped in the country, despite rising concerns over rampant construction in hilly areas.

The minister said that the problem in Joshimath was detected in 1975 and the following year a committee of top geologists was set up, which found that the town was an unplanned habitation which had come up on a landslide and the ground below had gravel instead of rocks.

Joshimath has sunk at a rapid pace of 5.4 cm in the last two weeks owing to land subsidence since January 2, 2023.

Singh further said that the town doesn’t have sewage and therefore, the entire drainage has seeped into the ground, thus loosening the rocks beneath.

In 2010, another committee was formed which gave the same inputs.

On the Tapovan Vishnugad project, the minister said it has been functioning since 2009 and is 15 km away from Joshimath.

In between there are several villages, he informed. In fact, the minister said there is a village right above the project and nothing has happened to that village and even the other villages located between that 15 km stretch.

The problem is therefore with Joshimath’s land, he noted.

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