IANS

Stressing that every minute is important, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S.S. Sandhu on Monday directed immediate evacuation of people from the affected zone in Joshimath, which is facing land subsidence.

Earlier, a bulletin from the Disaster Management Authority Chamoli said that cracks have appeared in 678 houses so far while 82 families have been shifted to safe locations in the town.

Sandhu held a meeting with the concerned departments at the State Secretariat to review the situation in Joshimath.

Addressing a Press conference, Secretary, Disaster Management Department, Ranjit Sinha, who was also present in the meeting, informed on Monday that 38 families have been shifted to rented houses. They are being given the rent amount as per the norms of the state government.

Sinha said that the two highly damaged hotels Malari Inn and Mount View would be demolished mechanically. For this, a team of CBRE was sent, through which the work of survey etc has been done. The Housing and Urban Development Department has been instructed to prepare a master plan for Joshimath. Work will be started immediately to prevent toe erosion. For this cooperation of technical institution will be taken.

The Disaster Management Secretary informed that a committee will be constituted at the government level under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary to conduct relief works. Similarly, a committee will be constituted at the district level under the chairmanship of the commissioner. The tender for Joshimath's drainage plan, which was earlier to be opened on January 20, will now be opened on January 13 in view of the present situation.

Apart from this, every day at 12 o'clock the Chief Secretary will hold a review meeting with regard to Joshimath.

The Secretary informed that the State Government is in touch with the Government of India and assistance is being received. If required, a package will be prepared and sent to the Central Government. At present, it has been decided to relocate people at three places, Koti Colony, Pipalkoti and Jadibooti Sansthan.

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