Officials of Chamoli district administration on Wednesday visited the parts of Joshimath where cracks have appeared in houses and assured the people of assistance, following concerns that the town was gradually sinking.

Physical inspection of houses and land located in Marwadi, Manohar Bagh and Singhdhar wards was carried out by the Additional District Magistrate and Deputy Superintendent of Police of Chamoli along with a team of geologists, State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), Fire Service and local police, officials said.

Instructions were given to the officials concerned to be prepared. The team also met the local people and assured them of all possible help. Police and SDRF jawans at Kotwali Joshimath were asked to keep the disaster equipment in operational condition and in alert mode to jump into action in case of any emergency.

Residents of Joshimath had on Tuesday threatened to take to the streets if the state government did not initiate the process of rehabilitating them immediately. The number of houses developing cracks in the town rose on Tuesday to over 600, Chairman of Joshimath Municipal Corporation Shailendra Panwar said.

Houses located in a large portion of Singdhar ward have developed cracks since Monday, he said. Meanwhile, affected people carrying torches hit the streets shouting slogans against a public sector energy conglomerate in Joshimath, blaming its project for the situation.