Joshimath land subsidence: In yet another jolt to sufferers of land subsidence in Joshimath, hotel owners have given an ultimatum to them, asking to vacate their facilities by March 31. According to reports, people, who were shifted to hotels by the administration due to cracks in houses in Joshimath of Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, have been asked to vacate rooms now.
The hotel owners have issued the ultimatum in view of the forthcoming Yatra season for Chardham pilgrimage in the state. The administration, however, has said that it has written to the government for extending the "deadline" for keeping the affected people in hotels. To which, the government is yet to respond.
People were displaced in hotels in January
In the first week of January, people were displaced in hotels, dharamshalas and rented houses after the land submergence increased in Joshimath. According to reports, the government is paying a rent of Rs 950 for a room in hotels. Those who are living in rented houses are being given five thousand rupees. There are 694 members of 181 families staying in various hotels, dharamshalas in Joshimath Municipality area.
The government had made arrangements for the disaster-affected people to stay in hotels till March 31. As the last date nears, hotel owners have started asking the affected to vacate the rooms.
What hotel owners have to say?
Hotel owner Govind Singh says that there are 10 rooms in his hotel. Two of these rooms have been given to the disaster-affected. The administration had asked to keep affected till March. Now they need rooms for the Chardham Yatra. Many times large groups of pilgrims come. In such a situation, if the disaster-affected people are kept here, they will not be able to provide rooms to the pilgrims.
Another hotel owner, Kuldeep, says that his hotel has six rooms, of which three have been given people affected by the disaster. "The government had said that Rs 950 will be given for a room per day, but no payment has been made so far," as per IANS. He further said that now the rooms will have to be vacated in view of the Chardham Yatra.
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Govt informed to keep affected people till April 30
District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana said: "Orders were received (from the state government) to shift the disaster-affected people to hotels till March 31. The government has been written to keep the affected in hotels till April 30."
"Even after March 31, no disaster-affected person will be excluded from hotels. If a hotel owner is asking the affected people to leave the hotel, it will be investigated," he asserted.
SDM Kumkum Joshi said: "We had permission till March 31 to accommodate the disaster-affected people in hotels. The government has been written to extend the period. Most of the hotels have been paid rent. However, due to non-completion of GST and other documentations of some home stays and hotels, the rent has not been paid."
It should be noted here that it has been almost three months since the subsidence hit Joshimath. But the suffering of the disaster-affected people continues to haunt them.
(With inputs from IANS)