Chief scientist at Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) Roorkee, Devi Prasad Kanungowho had recently played a key role in the Supertech twin-towers blast in Noida, is conducting the exercise with expert teams in Joshimath.
Joshimath land subsidence: Hotel owner’s family demands compensation
Well over 100 people, including at least 80 SDRF personnel along with CBRI experts and engineers, will be needed to execute the operation which involved cutting away pieces of the structures and lifting these away.
Hotel Mount View had cracks inside, while Malari Inn had developed fissures beneath it. But Thursday morning, cracks in Malari Inn erupted in multiple places following a slight drizzle in the early hours.
There was also snowfall in the upper reaches. In its forecast for the region, India Meteorological Department had earlier stated that “snowfall can be expected here on the night of January 12 and 13”.
Kamlesh Rana, son of Thakur Rana who owns Malari Inn, said, “I can’t put my parents under stress anymore. They had been sitting here in protest for days. God forbid if rain intensifies then the building might start collapsing on its own causing damage to others’ properties. People here are already a very worried lot. We don’t want to give trouble to anyone.”
Sharing details of the demolition plan, Kanungo told TOI: “Malari Inn has moved away from the ground and so damage, in this case, is irreparable. It actually shifted its weight on the other hotel. A safe mechanical demolition of these two buildings will take place in stages. We have chalked out a detailed plan for it. We’ll monitor the demolition by using our state-of-the-art equipment placed in and around the buildings to observe vibrations and other elements.”
The chief scientist added: “Since the landscape is extremely fragile we’ll manually cut the building and lift its pieces to another location. We can’t blast or bulldoze it. The process may take days and we are afraid rain may make the operation challenging for us.”
About the teams involved, he said, “We are following all safety protocols. We would require at least 80 SDRF personnel along with CBRI experts and engineers to execute this operation. Around 20 labourers would also be needed for each stage. Roads leading to the nearby houses and bylanes would be cordoned off.”
Kanungo, a chief scientist with MTech and PhD degrees (engineering-geologist) from IIT-Roorkee, has been working at CSIR-CBRI for almost 30 years now. His team played a crucial role during the Noida twin-tower blast. His team had deployed instrumentation monitoring equipment worth Rs 2 crore and visually captured the exercise.
Chief development officer (Chamoli), L N Mishra, said, “We held a series of meetings with the stakeholders and they understood the gravity of the situation and agreed for dismantling of the structure which started at around 4.30pm.The removal of concrete should start tomorrow.”
Local residents had also met chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Thursday morning and requested a rehabilitation package on the lines of the Badrinath Master Plan. An official, privy to the meeting, claimed, “A suggestion was made that they can give a package in accordance with the Central Public Works Department rates, which the residents declined.”
The meeting didn’t achieve a conclusive result and residents and authorities were told to “set up a market rate panel” to finalise the amount. Talks are on with the stakeholders, the official added.
Watch Joshimath land subsidence: Demolition team arrives at Hotel Malari Inn