SRINAGAR, Feb 03: A massive environmental disaster has unfolded in the Doda district after land started sinking in the Thatri area on Friday morning prompting the authorities to evacuate the entire village.
Panic gripped the area when cracks developed in the houses and the land and roads started sinking in the wee hours of Friday.
District authorities along with Ababeel Trust, a local NGO, immediately rushed to the spot and started a rescue operation. Nearly 19 families in the Nai Basti area were evacuated and lodged in Government Higher Secondary School for Boys.
“There are no casualties. Houses have developed cracks. These structures are now unfit to live in. We have shifted all the families to Government Higher Secondary School for Boys. We have made arrangements for them,” Dr. Ravi Kumar Bharti, additional deputy commissioner, Doda, told The Kashmir Monitor.
District administration also called geological experts to ascertain the causes of land sinking. “It has happened for the first time in this area. We have called experts who have surveyed the area. They will submit the report by tomorrow,” Dr. Bharti said.
Situated on the hillock overlooking Chenab, the village houses only 19 families. “It is a small village on the hillock. It overlooks mighty Chenab. There has been no incident of land sinking before. This is for the first time that such an incident has occurred,” said Syed Imran, who heads Ababeel Trust.
Ababeel Trust has been at the forefront of relief efforts in the village. The trust has pressed ambulances into service to help the people in the evacuation process. “We have lodged them in the nearby government building. We are now arranging food for them,” said Imran.
Some years back, a massive cloud burst hit the area but there was no causality. “However, the area is very steep. Highways and roads pass through it. Plus Chenab is also flowing through the area. It is an environmental disaster. Authorities are trying to ascertain the causes of the land sinking,” said Imran.
It may be recalled here that two years back, a massive cloud burst triggered flash floods in Honzar village in the neighboring Kishtwar district. Nineteen people were swept away by the flood. Two years on, there is no trace of the villagers who went missing on that day.