Joshimath is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, a small town in Uttarakhand is a holy place for most religions. The question arises: why do we suddenly talk about this place or why Joshimath has been in the news.?

Joshimath has been in the news as the town is sinking daily. There are various reasons why this is happening. In this blog, we will talk about Joshimath’s news and the current updates.


Joshimath is a hilly town located on the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway (NH-7) in the state of Uttarakhand. The city serves as a tourist town as it acts as an overnight rest stop for people visiting Badrinath, Auli, Valley of Flowers, and Hemkund Sahib, among other important religious and tourist locations in the state. Joshimath is also of great strategic importance to the Indian armed forces and is home to one of the Army’s most important cantonments.



The biggest reason why Joshimath is sinking is related to the geography of the town. The landslide rubble on which the city was established has a low bearing capacity and experts have long warned that it cannot support a high rate of construction. Increased construction, hydroelectric projects, and the widening of the National Highway have made the slopes highly unstable in the last couple of decades.

Erosion due to the running streams from Vishnuprayag and sliding along the natural streams are the other reasons behind the city’s fate. Scattered rocks in the area are covered with old landslide debris comprising boulders, gneissic rocks, and loose soil.

According to a 2022 survey conducted by researchers from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, these gneissic rocks are highly weathered and have a low cohesive value with a tendency of high pore pressure when saturated with water, especially during monsoons

Essentially, the land and the soil under Joshimath have a low capacity of holding together, especially when burdened with extra construction.

The Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) released a report in September 2022 that mostly cited

  1. Unplanned Heavy Construction
  2. Increase in tourism 
  3. Rise in population
  4. Extreme climate change
  5. Inadequate drainage system

Impact of that

According to news reports, over 600 homes in Joshimath have developed cracks, while fields and roadways have also been negatively impacted. Not only that, but high-tension electricity line poles are also tilting. The inhabitants of the hillside town have reported that apple and malt trees have begun to fall over, and residents are afraid to sleep inside their homes in the bitter cold. Residents are protesting and pleading with the state administration for permanent renovation as they leave their homes. They also demand that all buildings in the region, including the ongoing Char Dham yatra, stop immediately.


Experts recommend a complete shutdown of development and hydroelectric projects in the region. But the urgent need is to relocate the residents to a safer place and then reimagine the town’s planning to accommodate the new variables and the changing geographical factors.

Drainage planning is one of the biggest factors that need to be studied and redeveloped. The city is suffering from poor drainage and sewer management as more and more waste is seeping into the soil, loosening it from within. The irrigation department has been asked by the state government to look into the issue and create a new plan for the drainage system.

Experts have also suggested replantation in the region, especially at the vulnerable sites to retain soil capacity. There is a need for a coordinated effort between the government and civil bodies with the aid of military organizations like the BRO to save Joshimath.

Supreme Court on Joshimath issue

The SC refused to hear the urgent hearing of the matter and scheduled the same for 16th Jan. SC says that there are democratically elected institutions who can look into the situation. It was contended that all this happened due to large-scale industrialization seeking financial relief. The matter was moved to the National Disaster Management Authority. 

Currently, the Uttarakhand government has declared that each affected family will be granted 1.50 Lakh as an immediate interim relief.


The town is facing severe challenges amid the winter months as the risk of collapsing houses is getting deeper day by day. As per information, the District Magistrate (DM) of Chamoli visited the area but no conclusion has been inferred so far.



  • One factor contributing to the Joshimath surface’s instability is the project of NTPC Hydro Power. The river and land of Joshimath have been disturbed due to the 520 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project known as the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Plant.
  • According to experts report, Joshimath’s building and tourism industries are 2 of the main causes of the town’s decline. More than 70% of the economic contribution of the town is dependent on the tourism industry. The town experience thousands of tourists each year, which caused instability in the landslide-prone ground.
  • Much development, including a rise in the number of restaurants and hotels, has resulted from Joshimath’s growing population and tourism, which also spurs the creation of new projects and building activities.
  • Joshimath was originally a region prone to landslides and earthquakes, hence the majority of the town was built on landslide debris, leaving the surface covered in smooth, worn rocks and loose soil.
  • According to experts, Joshimath is situated in seismic zone V, which makes it more vulnerable to earthquakes in addition to gradual weathering and water percolation that weaken the rocks’ cohesive strength.





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