Just like Joshimath, several other towns in the foothills of the Himalayas are vulnerable to ground subsidence. Nainital, another famous tourist destination in Uttarakhand, is also witnessing a similar situation.
Cracks have appeared on Mall Road in Nainital, ringing the alarm bell for the district administration. Taking quick action, the Public Works Department (PWD) filled the cracks and leveled the subsidence by applying cement.
Now again, after the pictures of the cracks came to the fore, once again the danger loomed on Lower Mall Road. This crack is about 10 feet long and one to two inches wide. Apart from this, some minor cracks have also been observed. Taking it on priority, the department filled the cracks with liquid, mud, and sand.
This time the cracks on the Mall Road are longer and wider than the last time. This crack, which has now been filled by the PWD, was about 10-feet long and one to two inches wide. Apart from this, some minor cracks have also been observed.
According to geologists, the area is a landslide-affected area and the part of Rajpura, which is above Mall Road, is also in danger.
UGC Research Scientist Professor Bahadur Singh Kotlia, posted at the Center of Advanced Study in Geology Department, Kumaon University, said, “In 2010, Nainital district administration asked me to give a report on Raj Bhavan which I submitted in 2012 and I said in my report that there is a problem in the area”. He said that the development of cracks on the mall road has become more frequent in the last two-three years.
“The administration should ban construction in the Mall Road area. There should be no construction along the Mall Road, especially in the area which was hit by a landslide in the year 1880,” said Kotlia.
HISTORY OF LANDSLIDES IN NAINITAL
Prayag Pandey, the author of the book Nainital: Ek Dharohar, said that the history of land subsidence and fissures in this region is very old. In 1889, a small landslide occurred at the eastern end of the. The landslide was investigated by RD, the then-deputy superintendent of the Geological Survey of India.
“On January 26, 1895, the then commissioner of Kumaon, Lt. Col. EE Gries, during his inspection, had mentioned seeing cracks. On February 16, 1895, Colonel Fulford, the then Executive Engineer of PWD, inspected the cracks in the Mall Road and sent a report to the chief engineer in this regard. On March 24, 1895, the government stopped the construction work of the middle Mall Road,” said Pandey.
In 1895, cracks in the walls behind the Grand Hotel Bank House were found. The government asked geologists to investigate the causes of these cracks.
In 1916, the wall of Allahabad Bank collapsed. The hill caved in near Bank House in 1921.
After looking at the geological history of Nainital, it is clear that the area of Mall Road has been weak since the beginning.