4 die in landslide, house collapse; NH blocked as road sinks near Nashri

Vehicles stranded at Ramban after highway was blocked at Dalwas. —Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir
Vehicles stranded at Ramban after highway was blocked at Dalwas. —Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir

*Over 1500 vehicles stranded on highway

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Aug 25: Three persons including a couple were killed in landslide in remote Mahore area of district Reasi during early hours today, an elderly woman was buried alive under Kucha house in Rajouri area while Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was closed after the road started sinking along with big portion of mountain between Nashri and Chanderkote in Ramban sector.
Official sources said that due to heavy rain during last night and morning hours today, the road at Dalwas was sunk, snapping link between Jammu and Srinagar at around 7 am. Over 100 mts area of the road was affected with massive landslides at the site. The land sliding at Morh Ghori and two other places in Ramban sector also created blockade but the highway was cleared by this evening by the National Highway authorities.
As the Highway authorities tried to restore road at Dalwas by cutting mountain, the people objected to the damage caused to their lands. They came out on the highway and started protest. The restoration work was stalled. They were demanding compensation for their land coming in the highway. SHO Ramban and some senior officials reached the spot. They tried to pacify the protesting villagers of Dalwas. Later, with the intervention of DC Ramban in the evening, the matter was resolved. Click here to watch video
SSP, Traffic National Highway, J S Johar said that if the NHAI launches clearance operation even late this evening and the weather remains clear, the highway is likely to be cleared by tomorrow morning. Johar said this is the same area where massive mountain had sunk some time back and nearly 500 mt portion of road had perished. The new kucha make shift road is being created to restore traffic there. He said the locals had created some trouble but later the matter was said to be resolved.
Johar said nearly 500 vehicles had been stranded in Nashri, Chenani, Kud and Ramban areas while those in Udhampur, Dhar Road, Udhampur Byass and Nagrota area will be more than 1000. He said the movement of vehicles from Kashmir and Udhampur side was not allowed after the highway was blocked in the morning.
Project Director, National Highway Authority of India, Ramban Sector, PK Phonsa said that despite public protest for compensation and disruption for long, almost single passage has been created but the earth was still moving down. He said no movement of heavy or other vehicles can be allowed till a dependable and double passage is created. He said the men and machinery have been engaged at work and highway is expected to be cleared by tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, reports from Reasi said that three persons including a young couple were buried alive under boulder due to landslide in remote Khore area of Gulabgarh in Mahore sub division in district Reasi during early hours. It was raining heavily in the area and these people who had gone to the higher reaches along with cattle, took shelter under a big boulder but due to landslides they were buried alive along with cattle.
They were identified as 22-year-old Mohd Khalil, son of Mohd Rafiq and his wife Ruksana Begum (20), residents of Jamlan and Mohd Aslam (19), son of Mohd Rafiq of Ladh village. The family members came to know about the incident in the morning and moved to the area. The locals of the area and police party also reached there during the day and started rescue operation. The bodies were retrieved this afternoon. Some cattle/ buffaloes were also killed under the boulders.
Another report from Rajouri said that 80-year-old, Nazira Begum, mother of Shabir Qureshi, was buried alive under Kucha house of Shabir which collapsed due to heavy rain at Kot Dharra village in Rajouri late last evening. The body of the woman was removed from the debris after long efforts by the villagers last night. The police has taken cognizance.
Meanwhile, ahead of heavy rain, thunderstorm and gutsy winds during the next 48 hours, heat wave continued in Kashmir valley where mercury remained above normal. A MeT spokesman said that there could be heavy rain and flash floods at some places in J&K on August 26-27. The gutsy winds may blow at the speed of 30 to 40 kms per hour in some places of Kashmir.
While issuing advisory the MeT spokesman further said that scattered light to moderate rain is also expected in Ladakh, Gilgitt-Baltistan regions during next two days. The heavy rain and thunderstorm may lead to flash floods, temporary disruption of surface transport including Jammu-Srinagar, Srinagar- Leh, Manali-Leh highways besides Mughal Road, he cautioned.
Jammu area also witnessed rain during night and morning hours but the weather improved during the day. But it again became cloudy in the evening and light rain started in most of the area in the region.