SRINAGAR: After SoS calls from J&K government and BJP MP from Ladakh about threat posed by Phutkal river blockade in cold desert of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, an expert team of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will on February 8 (Sunday) conduct on spot inspection of the area, where a landslide created a blockade of Phuktal tributary of River Indus.
On December 31, Phuktal at Zanaskar in Kargil district suffered a blockade by a massive 200 ft high landslide dam, which is equivalent to the height of a 20-storey building.
According to officials, the landslide that struck between Shaday Sumdo and Mar Shun in Zanskar has created about 8 km long artificial lake, whose size is increasing.
The dam, created at Marshun village, about 90 km from Padum, the sub-divisional headquarters of Zanskar, is made mostly of fine grained debris.
The officials said landslide dam has been blocking 97 percent of the flow of around 50 cusecs of water at this period.
According to locals, the lake is frozen right now but the threat of its breach looms large. “The area presently is witnessing a temperature of -30 degree centigrade and there is no immediate threat. However, the threat of breach will increase when the temperature increases”.
They said the frozen artificial lake has become a threat for at least four villages having a population of around 4000 people.
“The lives and properties of over 4000 people of the four villages are in danger. The dam can cause flashfloods when it melts,” the locals said.
Zanskar is about 13,154 ft above the sea level and a favourite spot for trekkers.
Deputy Commissioner Kargil in his report to J&K government has warned that in case of sudden bursting of the stored water from the artificial lake formed in Phuktal River, a total of 29 villages in Kargil district will be affected.
After DC’s report, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Rohit Kansal and Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir visited the area to take stock of the situation. The officials prepared a report and sent it alongwith the report of DC Kargil to NDMA.
The administration has warned people living in the danger zones to take precautionary measures. “We have preparing a rehabilitation plan for the inhabitants of these areas in case of any exigency,” an official said.
BJP’s MP from Ladakh, Thupstan Chhewang had written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his intervention to avoid the threat of an “imminent eco-disaster” in the area.
The State Governor N N Vohra had also urged NDMA to send a team of experts to the area to take stock of the situation.
“After SOS calls from the State government and MP, an expert team of NDMA will visit the blockage site on February 8 to take stock of the situation,” an official spokesman said today.
NDMA’s Expert Committee comprises V D Roy, Director CWC (team leader), O P Gupta, Director CWC, B D Patni, Director NHPC, B M Gairola, Director, GSI, Maheshwar Singh, Officer Surveyor, SOI, R K Varma, Scientist-F, SASE, R K Dhiman, SE HQ, Vijayak, Major Abhishek Kumar, 70 Engineering Regt, Rajesh Kumar Basotra, SDM Zanskar and a Medical officer to be nominated by the State Government.
“Deputy Commisioner Kargil shall be the Nodal Officer for conducting and liasioning with the Committee which would work out the modalities of mitigating