With Joshimath having been declared a subsidence-hit zone amid sinking of land and threat of the entire town sinking under its own weight, state-owned NTPC has clarified that the tunnel for its Tapovan Vishnugad hydel project has nothing to do with the situation prevailing there.

"The tunnel of Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project is also being held responsible for the landslide in Joshimath. It is clarified that the tunnel constructed by NTPC is not passing under Joshimath town," a statement issued by the NTPC said.

The statement came after local residents in Joshimath held protests against the tunnel work for the project, blaming it as one of the reasons behind the gradual sinking of the town.

The NTPC said that the tunnel has been constructed with the help of a tunnel boring machine and currently no blasting work is being undertaken by the company at the project, which is being constructed on Dhauliganga river in the hill state.

"NTPC wants to inform with full responsibility that the tunnel has nothing to do with the landslide happening in Joshimath. In such an odd situation, the company expresses its sympathy and sensitivity to the people of Joshimath," the statement added.

On January 8, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had held a high-level meeting to review the situation in Joshimath and directed several agencies to come up with a time-bound plan to rehabilitate the people of the town.