Two districts in Jammu and Kashmir still cut off

February 12th, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Feb 12 (IANS) Over 600,000 people living in the mountainous Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu and Kashmir remain cut off since the past week with more than 200 metres of the highway having caved in.
More then 200 metres of the highway connecting the twin districts to other parts of the state caved in near Assar, about 150 km northeast of here, last week following heavy rains. This portion of the road is on the banks of a lake created by the Baglihar hydro-electric power project.

Assar is a landslide prone area and according to geological experts, the lake has further loosened the soil that has caused sinking of over 200 metres of the road. They noted that about two km of the road stretch around this area is prone to caving in due to this reason.

These experts also said the banks of the lake needed to be treated and concretised at vulnerable points to prevent seepage of water, but this had not been done.”

“This has put many areas around at risk of caving in or sinking,” they said, adding that the Catchment Area Treatment (CAT) that was recommended by geologists for the dam has also not been taken care of.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad have been personally monitoring the work of restoration of the road. However, engineers are not sure how long the work will take.

The government has made arrangements for trans-shipment of people in the area while essential supplies are being sent by helicopter. However, Asif Iqbal Naik, a journalist in Kishtwar, told IANS over phone: “Still there is acute shortage of essential supplies, vegetables, fuel and medicines. ”

The administration is also speeding up work on opening alternate link roads from Bhaderwah in Doda district to Bani in Kathua district and from Kishtwar to Sinthan in Anantnag in south Kashmir.

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