Govt deputes Ministers in flood hit areas, orders closure of schools
3 September 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Four persons including three members of a family were killed and two others were injured when their houses collapsed due to landslides triggered by heavy rains in Jammu region while the Government today sounded an alert on flood threat with Chenab in Akhnoor and Jhelum in Kashmir flowing above danger mark for second consecutive day today. The Government ordered closure of schools and colleges in the State for two days, deputed Ministers to monitor the situation in different districts and alerted security forces and civil administration to help the people in the areas where threat of flood persisted. The Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed for traffic for third day today due to landslides. Several link roads were also closed while a number of houses collapsed in rural and hilly areas of the State. DIG Udhampur-Doda range Lalatendu Mohanty said three members of a family were killed and another injured when their house collapsed due to landslides at village Chak Tandar in Morha Biskar area of Chenani in Udhampur district this afternoon. Deceased have been identified as Pushpa Devi, 35, wife of Ravelu, Balwan, 14, son of Ravelu and Rajni, 8, daughter of Ravelu. Usha Devi, 12, daughter of Ravelu was injured and has been admitted in District Hospital, Udhampur in serious condition. Authorities have rushed to the spot. Bodies of the victims have been recovered from debris of the house and sent for post-mortem. A woman Vaishnodevi W- o Suraj Parkash was killed when a cow shed collapsed at Kothian, Pouni in Reasi this evening. A woman Faqiri Devi was injured in a house collapse at Chatha near Jammu Airport. Yesterday, six members of a family were killed and a woman was injured in a house collapse in upper reaches of Bani in Kathua district. Water level in Chenab river in Akhnoor tehsil remained above the danger mark. It was recorded at 38.7 feet in the evening, about 2.7 feet above the danger mark, threatening many low lying areas on its banks. However, the water level started receding this evening after rains nearly stopped today. Tawi river was, however, flowing below danger mark. Water level in Tawi was recorded at 10 feet this morning, about four feet less than the danger mark. People in several villages on the banks of Chenab in Akhnoor tehsil including Pargwal island have been asked to remain alert. People from village Gujral have been shifted to safer places while people of Indri were in the process of being evacuated to safer areas. The Government has ordered free ration for them till they return to their houses. Second phase of cofer dam in Sewa Hydel project at Gatti in Bani was closed down due to a breach. It caused heavy loss to the project and the machinery but there was no loss of human lives. DC Kathua Sarita Chouhan and NHPC authorities visited the spot to assess damage. The State Cabinet, which met in Srinagar today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ordered closure of schools and colleges in the State for two days in view of incessant rains and flood situation. It directed that school and college building will be utilised to accommodate the people, displaced by floods. Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed for traffic for third day today due to fresh landslides between Ramban and Banihal. The BRO personnel were engaged in clearance operations. With weather behaving today, the situation was expected to be improved by tomorrow morning. A number of vehicles mostly trucks remained stranded on the highway. Several link roads in the State were also closed due to heavy rains. All Srinagar bound flights operated normally, SP Airport Raghubir Singh said. Rajouri-Poonch road was also closed for some time at BG. Katra- Reasi road also remained closed for traffic for few hours. Flood situation in Kashmir worsened today with all rivers and streams flowing above the danger mark and heavy downpour inundating several low-lying areas. Sources said that the water level of river Jhelum was flowing nine feet above danger mark upstream Sangam in Anantnag, submerging a portion of the road at Awantipora and Charsoo. The water level also crossed danger mark in downstream at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar and it was flowing four feet above danger mark submerging low-lying areas of Kursoo Rajbagh, Padshahibagh, Soiteng and Lasjan. Water was also rising alarmingly in the famous Dal lake in Srinagar posing threat to vast areas of Nishat, Shalimar, Brain and adjoining areas, they said. Floods waters have also caused extensive damage to the standing paddy crops in Anantnag and Pulwama district. A report from Kulgam said 1500 persons have been stranded at Chatel village when gushing flood waters entered their locality. In Kashmir valley, troops of Rashtriya Rifles rescued to safety residents of Khiram village marooned by flood waters in Anantnag district, the sources said. Terming the situation as grim, the sources said residents in Anantnag and Pulwama districts and Lasjan, Natipora and Mehjoor Nagar in Srinagar have been asked to remain alert in view of the threat of submergence of low lying areas. There was no report of loss of life or damage to property in any part of the valley so far. A spokesman said there was no report of any breach but the water level of river Jhelum and its tributaries was rising alarmingly in the Valley submerging some areas including Charsoo in Anantnag district. Meanwhile, schools and colleges in the State were today ordered closed for two days and the Army and Air Force kept on standby to help civil authorities in flood relief work given the grim flood situation. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad convened a special cabinet meeting in which he announced closure of schools and colleges in the State for next two days in view of incessant rains and floods in the Kashmir valley and Jammu, the spokesman. He said the Air Force and Army would be kept in readiness and called in, when required, to help the administration in dealing with the situation. He said the Cabinet directed the administration to take measures on priority basis to save human lives, shift people from vulnerable areas and provide on-the-spot assistance to the affected population. The Chief Minister had asked for a fleet of trucks to be at the ready to rush boats to areas where required and it was decided that school and college buildings would be utilised to accommodate people displaced by floods, he said. Round-the-clock flood control rooms would be set up in affected districts, sub- divisional and development blocks and Cabinet Ministers stationed in various districts to personally monitor rescue and relief work. Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Power Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora and Housing and Urban Development Minister Tariq Hameed Qarra had been asked to monitor the flood situation in Srinagar district. Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar, School Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Syed and Power and Health Minister Peer Mohammad Hussain would be stationed in Anantnag, Forest Minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal and Roads and Buildings Minister Mohammad Khalil Band in Pulwama while Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Taj Mohiuddin and Social Welfare Minister Nissar Ali would monitor the flood situation in Baramulla. Transport Minister Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen and Rural Development Minister Javid Mustafa Mir have been entrusted the job to look after the situation in Budgam, Health and Medical Education Minister Mangat Ram Sharma asked to go to Jammu city while Roads and Buildings Minister Gulchain Singh Charak would be in charge of Akhnoor in Jammu region, the spokesman added. Immediately thereafter, most of the Ministers visited the flood hit areas assigned to them and reviewed situation. Army rescued a family of six who were caught in swirling water of a river at Pahalgam in Anantnag district. The family was attempting to cross a foot bridge near village Girjapathri close to Hirpura when the surging water of Lidder river almost swept them away, a Defence spokesman said. Major I P Singh of 44 Rashtriya Rifles who led the operation rescued the family, he said. Army has carried out several rescue operations in flood-hit Anantnag, Pulwama and Budgam districts, he said adding all army camps have been equipped with relief material. He said army assisted local administration in the evacuation of almost 1,000 people from submerged Kakapora and 150 from Ambazoo near Salar in Pulwama district to safer places. Twenty families marooned in Saharsu, Paharsu, Amarzu near Aishmuqam in Anantnag were also rescued to safer places. Around 60 civilians have been brought to Aishmuqam where a temporary relief camp is being run by Rashtriya Rifles, he said adding at Draogunda almost 700 people have been evacuated to Wachi where a relief camp has been hastily organized by Rashtriya Rifles. Nearly 40 people were evacuated and housed at the Wachi Rashtriya Rifles camp itself, he added. A family escaped unhurt when their house in Pulwama district collapsed following incessant rains. The 'Kachha' house at Nelora-Wandna in Pulwama gave way early this morning after overnight rains, but all the people inside had shifted to safety earlier, they said. Two bridges at Sofshali and Akoora in Anantnag district were washed away by the floods. Meanwhile, the Government has ordered that free ration be provided to the flood affected people in submerged areas, he said adding field agencies have been geared up to evacuate people from water logged areas to safer places. The spokesman said 64 dewatering pumps have been pressed into service to pump out water from low- lying areas. About 1.10 Lakh sand filled gunny bags have been kept readily available to plug any breach in the embankments of various rivers and flood channels. Director General of Police Gopal Sharma and Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Basharat Ahmad Dhar today reviewed the situation arising due to incessant rains in the Valley at a meeting of engineers and officers. The Divisional Commissioner said all men and machinery have been geared up to meet any eventuality arising out of incessant rains in the Valley. A central flood control room has been established in Police Control Room Srinagar where senior representatives from all concerned departments would be available round-the- clock for the convenience of the public, the spokesman said. Similar control rooms have been made functional at all district headquarters. The Valley has been divided into 11 zones which have been constantly been kept under surveillance. A sizable number of boats have also been dispatched to various district headquarters facing the threat of floods for carrying out rescue and relief operations. In Srinagar city, 64 de- watering pumps have been pressed into service in water logged areas besides mobile pump sets, he said. Medical teams have also been put on alert and equipped with all necessary medicines, he added.