Joshimath’s cracks begin in Uttarakhand’s broken villages | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: When the ground under Joshimath started sinking rapidly at the end of 2022, attention turned to the large hydroelectric projects built around the town, and the heavy construction done within it. However, experts say the problem of over-construction is related to migration.
Hill towns like Joshimath have witnessed a population boom in the past few decades due to increasing migration of people from nearby villages for better earning opportunities. In Joshimath, for example, the population has doubled in the past decade without a significant increase in resources. Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Gopeshwar in Uttarakhand also have populations far beyond their carrying capacity. Experts say these towns are not geared to support large popula tions. Data from Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Prevention Commission (URDMPC) shows over 5 lakh people migrated from the state’s 10,000-odd villages in the past few years. Over 35% of the migrants shifted to the nearest town, straining its limited resources.
Overall, 19. 5% of the people migrated to the nearest town, 15. 2% to the district headquarters, and 0. 9% abroad. The figures are worrisome as most of the small towns in the hills are not prepared for such a large influx. The commission’s data shows 70-75% of people moving out of their villages – either temporarily or permanently – live in towns and cities within the state itself.
“Srinagar in Pauri Garhwal is bursting with people, and so are Joshimath, Bageshwar city, Pithoragarh city, Nainital, Almora, Gopeshwar, Uttarkashi and Tehri. There is an urgent need to find a solution to the problem, otherwise the situation could soo n become alarming,” said SS Negi, chairman, URDMPC.
The biggest section of migrants within Uttarakhand is from the 25-35 age group (42. 2%), followed by those aged over 35 years (29%), and below 25 years (28. 6%).
“The findings show most people migrated in search of jobs, which are available in nearby towns. Therefore, we need to develop more economic activities in the hilly villages . Opening sectorsthat could provide earning opportunities in the village can prevent migration in a big way,” Negi added.
Former director of Uttarakhand Space Application Centre and professor of geology at HNB Garhwal University, MPS Bisht, said: “There is no denying the fact that there is a lot of pressure on small towns in hills and district headquarters. Bette r healthcare options, education facilities and opportunities for earning are the three biggest factors behind migration. ”
Over a decade, 3. 8 lakh people from 6,338 villages have migrated on a semipermanent basis and 1. 1 lakh have migrated permanentlyfrom 3,496 villages. Most of the people (50. 2%) migrated to find work; 8. 8% left due to poor health facilities, 15. 2% due to poor educational facilities, 3. 7% due to lack of infrastructure, 5. 4% due to low farm produce and 2. 5% because others had migrated.
Bisht added Uttarakhand’s towns “need proper building norms and guidelines that need to be strictly followed by people making their homes or hotels. ”
Agreeing that the problem can be addressed if adequate employment avenues open up in villages, Shashi Joshi, gram pradhan of Sunai village in Karnaprayag block of Chamoli district, said, “People living in the hills are tough and used to living in difficult conditions. No one wants to leave such beautiful places. We need to work on long-term plans to provide employment opportunities that are in accordance with the region. That will greatly reduce the burden of increasing population in nearby towns. ”


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