'We Took Loan to Build This House': Cracks in Joshimath Force Family to Evacuate

The city is facing land subsidence, many lives have been uprooted and people have been forced to evacuate the area.

Climate Change
2 min read

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The citizens of Joshimath, Uttarakhand are living in the fear of their houses collapsing. With the city undergoing land subsidence, many lives have been uprooted and people are forced to leave their homes and evacuate the area.

The buildings have developed cracks and many have been deemed unsafe to live in, one among the many families who are painfully winding their lives and moving on is the Bhotiyal family.


The Plight of Prakash Bhotiyal

Prakash Bhotiyal is a guest house owner in Joshimath. His large family of eleven people has been forced to cramp into only two rooms as cracks take over the house they lived in.

He speaks about how his family is being forced to move into a hotel with all of their belongings.

"I used to earn a living by running this guest house, for which I even took out a loan. Now the entire building is cracked."
Prakash Bhotiyal, Joshimath Guest House Owner

Bhotiyal and his family had built the house by taking out bank loans and mortgaging and selling the family's jewellery.

The guest house is where Bhotiyal lost his father, only a month ago, and also the house where he celebrated the joy of his grandchildren being born.

He shows how he had once decorated the shelves of the guest house with trophies and accolades won by his children. Bhotiyal chokes up as he says that these trophies will have to be left behind because their new accommodation might not have enough space.

"These are all trophies that my children won in school. These are all their memories and now we have to empty this house."
Prakash Bhotiyal, Joshimath Guest House Owner

What is Happening in Joshimath?

The people of Joshimath are struggling as they leave behind their pasts, their homes and their livelihoods.

The district administration has ordered the demolition of 'unsafe' buildings, including two hotels- Malari Inn and Mount View. The demolition for Malari Inn is currently underway.

The Uttarakhand government has announced a rehabilitation plan and relief package for all the families affected by land subsidence.

The people of Joshimath have been protesting, and demand resettlement closer to Joshimath. Some have also said they would prefer compensation to relocate on their own.

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Topics:  Climate Change   displacement   Joshimath 

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