Gag order on Joshimath: NDMA asks govt bodies, experts not to share data to avoid 'confusion'
The preliminary study by NRSC-ISRO said the land subsidence was slow between April and November 2022 during which Joshimath had sunk by 8.9 cm.
Published: 15th January 2023 08:55 AM | Last Updated: 15th January 2023 08:55 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: In a bid to avoid confusion and panic among people, the National Disaster Management Authority has directed government-run research institutions not to interact with media or share data on Joshimath on social media platforms. The gag order follows media reports on the rapid rate of subsidence in Joshimath, based on data released by ISRO and the National Remote Sensing Centre.
In an office memorandum dated January 13 issued to various department and institution heads, the disaster management body directed them to “refrain from posting anything on media platforms until the final report of the expert group is released by the NDMA”.
The NDMA said: “It is observed that the government institutions are releasing data related to the subject matter on social media platforms… They are also interacting with media with their own interpretation of the situation. It is creating confusion not only among affected residents but also among citizens of the country.”
The action was taken a day after Union home minister Amit Shah took note of the news coverage on various platforms, while he was chairing a review meeting on the Joshimath situation on Thursday.
“An expert group has been formed for assessment of ground subsidence at Joshimath”, the NDMA said in the directive, adding: “You are requested to sensitise your organisation about this matter and refrain from posting anything on media platforms until the final report of the expert group is released by the NDMA.”
The memorandum has been sent to various institution heads including CBRI Roorkee, GSI Kolkata, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC)-ISRO Hyderabad, CGWB, Surveyor General of India, IIRS Dehradun, IIT Roorkee, NGRI Hyderabad , NIH Roorkee, WIHG Dehradun and NIDM Delhi.
A detailed report released by ISRO late last week with data and images of Joshimath had attracted widespread media coverage. The images showed that the Himalayan town sank at a rapid pace of 5.4 cm in just 12 days. The preliminary study by NRSC-ISRO said the land subsidence was slow between April and November 2022 during which Joshimath had sunk by 8.9 cm. The NRSC-ISRO report said, “The region subsided around 5 cm within a span of a few days and the areal extent of subsidence has also increased. But it is confined to the central part of Joshimath town.”
But ISRO removed the satellite images from its site within a day, following objections from the Uttarakhand government, state minister Dhan Singh Rawat TNIE.