November 25, 2023 9:35 am

Joshimath land subsidence: Protests stall demolition of 2 hotels; 86 houses found ‘unsafe’

WHILE 86 houses have been identified as “unsafe” so far — all marked with red ‘X’ marks — the first phase of demolitions is focussing on two hotels which are among the worst hit by the land subsidence in Joshimath.

Deep cracks on the ground have caused one of the hotels (Malari Inn) to be almost separated from its foundation, as a result of which it has tilted towards the other hotel (Hotel Mount View).

A team of the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), which has been roped in for the demolition, conducted a survey of the two hotels on Tuesday. While the demolition work was set to begin in the evening, the owner of Malari Inn and some residents held protests, stopping the CBRI and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel from entering the hotel.

CBRI Chief Scientist D P Kanungo, who is heading the team, said they planned to carry out a “mechanical” demolition, with no use of explosives. Kanungo was part of the team which carried out the demolition of the Supertech twin towers in Noida last year.

“The foundation of the first hotel (Malari Inn) has left the ground and thus the damage is irreparable. The hotel has shifted its weight on the other hotel, so the other hotel is damaged too. This is why a safe mechanical demolition of these two buildings is mandatory. We have gone inside both the buildings and have made a detailed plan. Our first priority is the safety of other buildings near and below the two hotels, and of the workers going inside the buildings to conduct the demolition,” said Kanungo.

He said the demolition process would be carried out in steps, from the top to bottom, and is estimated to take three-four days. Hotel Malari Inn will be demolished first.