GoI denies link between sinking Joshimath and NTPC tunnels, says ‘project will go on’

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An aerial view of the 520MW NTPC Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project, at Joshimath in Uttrakhand on October 03, 2009. [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Power.]

Modi Government in New Delhi has ruled out connections with the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project as houses in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, continue to collapse and evacuations go on.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, the power ministry in a letter has said that the NTPC tunnel did not travel beneath the town and attributed the “sinking” to natural factors and increased building activity.

The tunnel is around 1.1 kilometres from Joshimath’s outside perimeter, the power ministry said. It was built with a tunnel boring machine that doesn’t disrupt the nearby rock mass, and it is roughly 1.1 km below ground level.

The soil subsidence was attributed by the power ministry to increased construction activity, natural drainage, sporadic high rains, and subsurface seepage erosion.

The letter would be forwarded to the Uttarakhand administration after being discussed with the Home ministry, according to officials who spoke to the Hindustan Times.

The enormous Dhaulganga River project, which began in 2008, is anticipated to be finished in a year. The NTPC has also denied any connections.

Officials said the work had stopped for now but the project would continue.

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