Baglihar infrastructure too suffers damages; one killed, 26 rescued9 June 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The first ray of sunlight unfolded the exact destruction caused by the cloudburst in Doda and Ramban districts with authorities noticing massive damages to the civil and electrical infrastructure of 450 Mega Watt Baglihar Hydroelectric Project on river Chenab at Chanderkote where a security guard was also killed and 25 workers remained trapped in a tunnel for nearly 12 hours before being rescued early this morning. However, the bodies of those who were feared killed in the natural calamity at Ramgarh area near Bagger on Batote-Doda-Kishtwar National Highway 1B, remained untraced although the Border Roads Organization (BRO) and the district administration managed to bring out some vehicles from the huge debris that had accumulated at around 20 places between kilometers 9 from Batote up to Bagger. Reports said that massive cloudburst, which hit the Bagger area of Doda last evening, also caused massive damage to the infrastructure of the State owned mega power project-Baglihar on river Chenab at Chanderkote in Ramban district with authorities noticing damages to electrical infrastructure in the pot head yard. The road connectivity between power house, dam site and employees’ colony was also found snapped badly because of numerous landslides and shooting of stones. Even a tunnel near the dam site, where around 26 workers were carrying out some works, was also found blocked due to landslide last mid-night but the workers could not be rescued immediately because of washing away of a portion of approach road. 'After several hours long efforts, the Jai Prakash Associate workers managed to carve a new stretch to reach the tunnel area and subsequently earth mover was pressed into service to open the mouth of blocked tunnel', Additional SP Ramban, Parshotam Kumar said, adding 'while removing the debris from the tunnel area, a security guard of the JP namely Vikramjeet Singh, a resident of Punjab was found dead'. All the 26 workers were rescued from the tunnel at 6 am after remaining trapped for around 12 hours, he said, adding in other landslide and shooting stones hit areas of the project three workers sustained injuries and they were hospitalized this morning. Chief Engineer of Baglihar Hydroelectric Project, T K Koul, when contacted, said, 'landslides and shooting stones triggered by the cloudburst have caused such a damage to the road network within the project area that we would be able to completely restore some of the roads only by June 13'. About the damage to electrical infrastructure, Mr Koul said that one of the two circuits in the pot head yard got damaged after shooting stones struck with the equipment. 'Even insulators and other connecting equipment too suffered damages prompting us to shift the entire load to another circuit in order to ensure that there is no disruption in the power supply to the Kishenpur Grid', he added. About the quantum of damage to the infrastructure, the Chief Engineer said that assessment of damages would take at least three to four days. Meanwhile, bodies of all those persons, who were feared killed in the natural calamity, remained untraced although the Border Roads Organization (BRO) and the district administration managed to bring out some vehicles from the huge debris accumulated at around 20 places between kilometers 9 from Batote up to Bagger. The family members of the missing persons kept on watching the debris clearance operation throughout the day but returned with heavy heart as none of them could be recovered till this evening when the BRO stopped the road restoration work. Three vehicles-Santro, Maruti Zen and Tavera, which were trapped in the mudslide at Ramgarh, were recovered this afternoon after hectic efforts while as a Tata Mobile at Ramgarh, one bus, two trucks, a mini-truck and an auto-rickshaw continued to remain trapped at different places between 9-kilometer spot from Batote and Bagger. However, their passengers had miraculous escape. 'The Border Roads Organization has conveyed us that if the weather permits they would try their level best to make the road traffic worthy for one way movement of vehicles by tomorrow morning', Deputy Commissioner Doda, Farooq Khan, said and confirmed that none of the missing persons could be recovered during the day long operation. To a question, he said that Revenue Department officials have started visiting the people in the cloudburst affected areas to ascertain damages to the properties during the natural calamity. 'It would take at least 10 days to work out quantum of damage', he added. Meanwhile, on the instruction of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, his Advisors Mubarak Gul and Davender Singh Rana visited the Bagger area and took on the spot assessment of the damage caused to life and property. They were informed by the administration that about 1000 families having agriculture and horticulture land have been affected due to the natural calamity.