Alert sounded in major parts of Leh as flash floods cause massive damages

*Govt yet to compensate losses suffered in May 

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Aug 3: Alert was sounded in major parts of Leh district today after flashfloods caused by overnight heavy rainfall and cloudburst led to massive damage to the Government and private infrastructure. With weathermen predicting rainfall for seven more days, vast population is in the complete grip of panic as the prevailing situation has refreshed the horrifying memories of 2010 devastation.
Reports said that entire Leh district is witnessing heavy rainfall after regular intervals during the past one week and this has led to flooding of almost all the nullahs and rivers. The situation turned ugly last night when another spell of high intensity rainfall coupled with cloudburst in some areas caused massive flashfloods in several parts of the district.
The blocks of Nubra, Kharu, Chuchot, Khaltsi, Nyoma and Durbuk were the worst affected parts of the district where damage to the private and Government properties was immense, reports further said, adding huge loss to the houses and livestock was experienced particularly in Walna, Byoma, Turtuk, Rong, Phyang, Chushul, Shey, Saboo, Thiksay, Killbuk, Stakmo, Igoo and Chuchot villages.
Not only to the houses, livestock and standing crop, the rainfall and flash floods also caused widespread damage to roads, culverts, footbridges, water supply and irrigation schemes in these affected areas of the district. However, no loss of life was reported from any part of the district because people rushed to the safe locations timely.
“Majority of the people in these affected areas left their houses following heavy rainfall and took shelter in the safe locations particularly monasteries in the nearby areas”, official sources said, adding keeping in view the prevailing situation, which warrants timely action from the official machinery, the Deputy Commissioner, Saughat Biswas has issued directions to all the district level and sub-district level officers, who are on leave or duties outside the district headquarters, to immediately resume duties so that coordinated efforts are made to restore the damages and provide relief to the affected populace.
After analyzing the situation in the morning and keeping in view the forecast of more rainfalls during next seven days, the district administration has sounded alert in major parts of the district with the advice to the people living near the nullahs or rivers to move to safer places so that loss of life is avoided, sources informed.
Even the authorities of Public Works Department and Border Roads Organization were directed to immediately start repairing the culverts and footbridges as road connectivity of majority of areas got snapped due to overnight rainfall and subsequent flash floods.
Admitting that panic has gripped the vast population and prevailing situation has refreshed the memories of 2010 devastation, sources said that the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Rigzin Spalbar and Deputy Commissioner, Saughat Biswas have requested the State Government to immediately place some funds at the disposal of the district administration so that emergency nature of works particularly flood protection activities could be carried out to prevent situation from turning ugly in the days to come.
Even request has also been made for immediate release of Rs 12 crore under State Disaster Response Fund for the losses suffered during rainfall and flashfloods of May this year. “The district administration had submitted the estimates of loss suffered in the month of May but till date not even a single penny has been released by the State Government”, sources regretted, adding “due to delay in release of funds, the damages which were suffered in the month of May have remained un-restored and rainfall on the intervening night of August 2 and 3 further compounded the situation in several parts of the district”.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Councillor Rigzin Spalbar visited affected areas like Saboo, Shey, Thiksay, Killbuk, Stakmo and Chuchot and took stock of the situation.
He issued directions to the accompanying officers to remove boulders from the flood affected road at Saboo village and make it traffic worthy as early as possible. He further directed Executive Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Division to issue sand bags and crate wire wherever required.
As far as assessment of damages to the standing crops are concerned, CEC assured that the same will be done through the Revenue Department authorities in the shortest possible time.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner, Saughat Biswas said, “we have sounded alert in many parts of the district keeping in view the forecast about more rains during next seven days”, adding “entire official machinery has been put on job to restore the damages by mobilizing the available resources”.


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