Doda, Kishtwar districts cut off, one feared killed

February 7th, 2009 - 10:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Jammu, Feb.7, (ANI): Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu and Kashmir were virtually cut off from rest of the state, as a road-stretch between Assar and Trungal on Batote-Kishtwar National Highway-1B, washed away due to heavy overnight rains.
Four vehicles including two trucks, one ambulance and a Maruti van swept away, while the driver of van went missing.
A house was also buried under the debris of the road patch, which sank on the bank of river Chenab early on Saturday.
Although Border Roads Organisation (BRO) teams have started repairing the damaged stretch but it might take a week for restoring traffic on the road.
“At least five to six days are required to develop an alternative road for traffic to resume”, Deputy Commissioner of Doda Sharief-ud-Din said.
He, however, said a chopper would be available at the Doda district headquarters to meet any emergency.
Eyewitnesses told that since yesterday afternoon, the road was gradually sinking into the Chenab, but the authorities did not pay any attention except stopping vehicles at Batote.
As shooting stones and landslides were going since Thursday afternoon, a large number of vehicles were stranded on the highway.
About 200 metres of road stretch at Assar sunk into the river along with two trucks, an ambulance and a Maruti van. All inmates of the ill-fated vehicles, except the driver of the Maruti van, managed to come out of their vehicles before the road sank.
Driver of the van Sohan Lal of Khelani in Doda district was reportedly in the vehicle when the road sank. He is reportedly missing and is feared to have been washed away by the river.
Local residents blamed the authorities for the incident and regretted that the latter knew that this stretch on the highway was sinking for the past three months.
“As soon as the authorities started filling the reservoir of the Baglihar hydroelectric project, the road started sinking,” said Sham Lal, a resident of Assar.
Sharma said the local residents had brought the matter to the notice of the authorities a number of time, but nothing concrete had been done so far.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah air-dashed to Doda district to assess the situation. He conducted an aerial survey of the area and later gave directions to the
authorities to take effective measures to ensure supply of essential commodities. (ANI)

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