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24 Families Relocated after Landslides in J&K

Anees Zargar |
The fresh incident in ecologically fragile Ramban has been a major cause of concern for the residents that believe that the incident is an outcome of rampant urbanisation

Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: At least 15 families in Jammu and Kashmir’s hilly Ramban district were forced to leave their homes after they were damaged in what is believed to be a result of a “geological phenomenon” in the region.

The families, however, have been shifted to safety by the district administration and have been provided with basic facilities like food, utensils and blankets at the makeshift tents away from the affected area.

According to a senior administrative official, a 33KV power transmission line and a water pipeline in the area have also been affected due to the phenomenon which has caused a major landslide. The incident – believed to be a first of its kind by locals – has since dislodged about 500 m of road that connect key areas in the vicinity.

Mussarat ul Islam, who is the Deputy Commissioner of Ramban, told NewsClick that he visited the spot with his team. He said that the incident seems to be a result of a “geological phenomenon” which has caused a major landslide.

“We have already informed the authorities to send a team of expert geologists to assess the situation and they would be able to tell us what exactly has caused this phenomenon. As of now the families are safe and we are continuously monitoring the situation,” Islam said.

The official has also requested the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) to create an alternate road for the Gool Tehsil headquarters.

The incident in Ramban – which is around 150 km from Srinagar – comes at a time when at least nine residential houses and several shops were damaged in landslides in North Kashmir’s Ganderbal District. There were, however, no reported casualties in the incident which has led to the closure of the Srinagar- Leh Highway.

Many of the mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir are prone to snow avalanches and landslides like the one that occurred in Ganderbal due to rain and snow. The fresh incident in ecologically fragile Ramban has been a major cause of concern for the residents that believe that the incident is an outcome of rampant urbanisation and big construction projects.

Earlier in February, as many as 21 structures including 19 homes were damaged in another geological phenomenon in Chenab Valley’s Tathri village of Doda district. The residences in the village developed cracks that were likened to the land subsidence in the Joshimath area of Uttarakhand state.

Dr Riyaz Ahmad Mir, a geologist with the Geological Survey of India, told NewsClick that the frequency of landslides in the entire Himalayan region has increased. The Himalayas, he said, has undergone various deformation stages and has many weakness zones.

“There is also human interference and the ongoing climate change has compounded the concerns that are triggering landslides throughout,” Mir said.

Mir is yet to assess the Ramban incident but said he was going through the reports of a landslide in Ganderbal where the preliminary information indicated that it was likely a debris slide. “There has been a rise in temperature in February and the debris slide in Ganderbal was accompanied by snow which indicates that it was caused by warming,” he added.

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