2 women washed away in Tawi, 2 rescued; soldier missing in avalanche

Road sinking near Batote on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Saturday.
Road sinking near Batote on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Saturday.

Gopal Sharma/ Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Mar 19: With heavy rain in many hilly areas of Poonch, Rajouri Reasi, Udhampur, Ramban and Doda and parts of Kashmir, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Doda-Kishtwar road continued to be blocked at many places due to fresh landslides while two women were washed away in flooded Tawi river and two other male members were rescued.
Two vehicles including a tractor got washed away in Poonch river during early hours today while over 130 cattle including sheep, goats and horses were buried alive in a massive landslide in Mahore area of Reasi last night. The reports regarding collapse of about two dozen houses and extensive damage to the crops have also been received from these districts.
With the closure of highway, large number of passengers have been stranded at Jammu Bus Stand at Udhampur. No movement of trucks and other goods carriers has been allowed from Nagrota Bypass (Jammu), Udhampur TPC, Manwal and Battal  Dhar Road side towards Kashmir and Doda-Kishtwar by the Traffic police authorities since yesterday. More than 2000 goods carriers were reported to have been stranded at these places.
Nearly 40 ft long patch of highway got sunk near Dak Bungalow, at Batote snapping link to Udhampur-Doda-Kishtwar and entire Kashmir. Another major landslide on Banihal side of the Jawahar Tunnel has caused massive blockade since last night. While three big landslides between Batote and Doda at Malhori, Kauda Pani and Raggi Nalla have been cleared but Udhampur-Doda-Kishtwar link is still snapped due to sinking of the road at Batote.
Inspector General of Police, Traffic, Viplav Kumar Choudhry, told Excelsior that the National Highway remained closed for traffic for third consecutive day today. He said that the Border Roads Organization (BRO) managed to clear at least three dozen slides and shooting stones between Batote- Ramban and Ramsoo by this evening. However, no traffic was allowed as it was already dark by the time slides and shooting stones were cleared.
The IGP Traffic said that over around 500 trucks are stranded between Ramban and Udhampur.  He said that there are some vehicles in Banihal as well as large number of people have travelled in train and boarded around 50-60 vehicles at Banihal. He, however, said that they won’t be allowed to proceed towards Jammu and they have been told to go back to Srinagar. Mr Kumar said that there is still problem at Hingni due to a massive slide and it will be cleared for one way traffic soon. He said that 30-40 meter highway has sunk at Batote and efforts are on war footing to build the road at least for one-way traffic on this stretch.
Two young women, Pooja and Lakshmi, hailing from Maharashtra and residing in slums area of Tawi bank, were washed away due to flash flood in river Tawi at around 1.30 pm today. Two other persons namely 30 year-old Sudhir Shinde and minor Mahesh (12), who also got trapped in flooded river were however, rescued by locals and police near Tawi bridge.
A senior police officer told the Excelsior that both these women were washing clothes when they got trapped in flash flood near  Jogi Gate cremation ground parking. They could not be saved. The police and family members launched search operation but their bodies could not be traced downstream. Their bodies were believed to have been washed away towards Pakistan. Mahesh and Sudhir were fishing when they got trapped in the flooded river. Minor was later hospitalized as his condition deteriorated.
Two tractor trolleys and four persons trapped in river Tawi near Panjtirthi were rescued by police with the help of SDRF team. SP City North Dr Vinod Kumar supervised the operation.
Reports from Poonch said that heavy rain continued throughout the night, causing  flash floods in rivers and nullahs. A tractor trolley  and a Maurti car parked in the locality near Poonch bridge were washed away during wee hours today in flash flood.
The car got trapped in the rocks about 600 mts down-stream. The flood water also entered  in some localities and fields causing damage to standing crops. The hail-storm also caused extensive damage to the wheat, pulses and mustard crop.  At Arai village in Mandi, three houses belonging to  Mohd Farid and his brother  and one Liaqat Hussain collapsed fully during this morning. About half a dozen houses were partially damaged in Mandi block of Poonch but no loss of life has been reported.
Due to heavy rain in Mendhar area, water entered many shops in main market and several houses causing extensive damage to the property. The people including Beopar Mandal members held strong protest against RDD authorities and local administration.
In Rajouri  area also, especially Sunderbani, Kalakote, Taryath-Mogla and Nowshera belt  rain and hailstorm wrecked havoc. The farmers suffered massive losses. Three Kucha houses of Mohan Lal, Hans Raj and Sham Lal were totally damaged in the heavy rain. Two more houses and a cattle shed collapsed in Kotranka and Manjkote area.
Another report from Reasi said that three horses of one Faiz Ahmed, son of Abdul Ghani resident of Jamslan and two cows and a bull of one Bashir Ahmed, resident of Bader village were killed due to lightning last night.
Nearly 130 cattle of  one Mohd Anawar, son of Mohd Shafi, resident of Garhi Nalla in Chankah Panchayat of Arnas were buried alive when a massive landslide took place at the village last night. The police party and Tehsildar visited the spot and provided immediate relief to the family.  The house of one Mohd Farooq, son of Jan Mohd, resident of Kakra in Arnas was fully damaged while at least half a dozen more houses said to have been partially damaged in this belt since last evening.
As heavy snowfall continued in the hills of Kashmir, the divisional administration, on the basis of an advisory issued by Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), has issued fresh avalanche warning for the higher areas of Kashmir, advising people not to venture in these areas over the next 48 hours.
“Medium danger avalanche warning exists for avalanche prone areas above 3,000 metres altitude in Baramulla, Kup-wara, Bandipora, Kargil, Rajouri, Ganderbal, Doda, Poonch, Reasi and Ramban districts of Jammu and Kashmir”, the advisory said.
The SASE said that Pharkian, Z-Gali, Banihal Top, Gulmarg, Haddan Taj and Neelam areas of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed fresh snowfall of 66 cm, 41 cm, 6 cm, 43 cm, 28 cm and 35 cm, respectively during last 24 hours.
A defence spokesman said here that an avalanche triggered by a mild earthquake hit an Army Post located at an altitude of 17500 feet in Kargil sector two days ago. Two soldiers who were on surveillance duty were washed away in the avalanche.
“Immediate rescue operations were launched in which one soldier could be rescued; while the second soldier is still missing. The rescued soldier is medically stable and is recovering.  Rescue operations to rescue the missing soldier are currently on in spite of the adverse weather conditions”, the spokesman said.
And the incessant rains led to slides and sinking of earth, water logging and flash floods at several places across Kashmir. The rains led to water-logging at several places in the city.
In Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district 5 houses were completely damaged and 11 developed cracks due to incessant rains.
Avalanches and landslides triggered panic in upper reaches of Ganderbal district. Around six mild avalanches and landslides were triggered by incessant rains in upper reaches of Gund tehsil in the district early today morning.
People ran for safer places after earth started caving-in at several places in Sonamarg, Gagangeer, Rayil, Hung and Ganiwan areas. However, there was no report of loss of life or property.
At Wanihama, Wangath in Kangan area of Ganderbal landslides damaged five houses completely and 11 houses developed cracks. A PMSGY Road, Water supply schemes and Irrigation canal was also damaged. Twenty Cattle and sheep also perished in the area.
The affected people have been provided tents by district administration. Besides, Rs 5, 000 relief amount have been paid to those whose houses have been completly damaged. Police, Fire Service have been stationed in the area to provide assistance to the people.
At least seven families were shifted to safer places late last night due to a landslide threat in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
According to district administration, all the landslide-prone areas were being constantly monitored by revenue officials. “As a precautionary measure, seven families of Hajam Mohalla in Surisyaar area of Chadoora have been shifted to safer places. However, no untoward incident has been reported from any corner of the district,” said Deputy Commissioner Budgam Mir Altaf.
Three children were injured in a house collapse in Pattan area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district today. A house, belonging to Abdul Majeed Ganaie son in law of Ghulam Mohidin of Zangam, apparently due to caving in of land caused by incessant rains during past couple of days. Three children of Abdul Majeed Ganaie – Bilal Ahmed, 5, Sabreena, 7,and Azad Ahmed, 2, were injured. They were rescued and hospitalized and are said to be stable.
Two houses collapsed due to land slide at Noorbagh in Baramulla district. However, there was no loss of life.
In Bandipora district at least 40 cattle perished, three houses and a vital bridge were damaged due to incessant rains.
The traffic was diverted at Saidunara  Hajin on Srinagar-Bandipora road  after it was  blocked  due to a landslide  at Saderkoot this morning.
At least nine residential houses at Tengpora hillock are at the verge of collapse due to sinking of land.
At least 40 sheep perished at Quil Muqam area of Bandipora district due to flash floods. The sheep belonging to one Mohammad Yousuf Tass of Daki village in   Quil Muqam Bandipora died when flash floods entered the locality after traversing embankments in Rishi Khol during night.
Heavy rains played havoc in the Barzulla area of Panzigam Bandipora damaging dozens of houses besides damaging the approach road between Panzigam and Barzulla.
Dozens of mud-houses developed cracks in Saderkoot, Barzulla. In Leharwalpora, Dardpora, Kudara and Chak Mantrigam   several  houses developed minor cracks.


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