J&K: Changes in Sindh River at Ganderbal Raises Concerns
Srinagar: Panic spread in the areas of Ganderbal district in central Kashmir after locals witnessed changes in river Sindh which many believe was contaminated by an alleged toxic spillover.
The eyewitnesses said that the colour of the water and a channel that feeds into the main river changed into milky white with the appearance of froth and continued to flow for hours since Monday. The phenomenon caused huge concerns among the residents, who began to appeal to the authorities for intervention.
After the residents informed the district authorities about what appeared to them due to “chemical contamination”, the administration took water samples for testing.
District Magistrate Ganderbal Shymabir Singh told NewsClick they are waiting for the report in the afternoon today. He said that the report could explain the reason why this phenomenon occurred.
“As per the preliminary reports, it doesn’t appear to be serious chemical contamination, but we have issued general guidelines for people to follow, including the use of water from the treatment plant only until the final report. It takes at least 24 hours,” Shyambir said.
The locals are not just concerned about whether to drink from the river. Many are worried about the fish in it and the agricultural produce that it supports, especially in areas of Kangan. Sindh river runs a course of over 100 km and moves along the Zoji La pass and the famous tourist destination of Sonmarg before joining river Jhelum. It is also a wide source of trout fish farming.
“This is the first time the river seems to have been polluted like this. Lakhs of people use the water. The fish in the water can all die, and there are so many fish farms that people have taken loans for – it can affect,” a local said.
Many took to social media to express their resentment over the incident, with many blaming the construction work going along the Zoji La as a reason. Whilst urging the administration to investigate the matter and take further action, the locals are fearful that the rampant drilling and tunnelling in the eco-fragile mountains will cause irreparable damage to the region.
A similar phenomenon was witnessed in the Chenab valley’s Kishtwar, where the locals allege that the big construction work has put tens of thousands at risk.
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