Cloudburst causes damage at LoC Trade Centre, 9 cops rescued from PP

LoC Trade Centre heavily flooded after cloudburst and flash flood in Poonch on Saturday night. . — Excelsior/Romesh Bali
LoC Trade Centre heavily flooded after cloudburst and flash flood in Poonch on Saturday night. . — Excelsior/Romesh Bali

Rajouri-Thannamandi-Bafliaz road closed after landslide

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, July 24: Flash flood in Rangar Nallah after cloudburst in the upper reaches of Poonch bordering PoK, caused extensive damage to the Indian Trade Centre at Chakkan-Da-Bagh near the Line of Control in Poonch while at least nine policemen trapped in the flooded Police Post at the Centre, were rescued by Army, policemen and locals of the area last night.
About 300 meters compound wall of the Trade Centre was broken with the impact of flash flood whereas, about 200 feet road/culvert on Poonch-Rawlakote road at Rangar Nallah was also washed away. The standing crops of the villagers and their land suffered extensive damage on about hundreds of kanals of agriculture land.
With heavy rain in Thannamandi and Darhal belt of Rajouri last night, massive landslide took place near Dera Ki Gali (DKG) on Rajouri-Thannamandi-Bafliaz-Shopian Road during early morning hours today. A large number of vehicles were stranded on both sides of the road. These vehicles were later diverted to Surankote route.
Official sources told the Excelsior that at around 10.30 pm, it was raining heavily with thunderstorm and lightening in Poonch area. Then cloudburst amidst thunderstorm occurred with deafening sound in the upper reaches of Khari Karmara area, followed by flash flood in the Rangar Nallah, flowing along the Chakkan-Da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre. Sentry on duty at the Police Post near main gate, raised alarm after sensing trouble and sound of massive flow of water. The power supply was also off in the area during that time.
He ran for the safety and mounted on a building. At least nine cops were there in the Police Post and got trapped in nearly 5-6 ft water later mounted on the roof top and were rescued by the locals and army men from the nearby unit.
After receiving information, Police party from Poonch led by SSP Rohit Baskotra and SHO Poonch arrived there. Since water level was very high, it was not possible to cross flooded Nallah at that time. About 150 mt stretch of the road and culvert was also reportedly washed away due to flood.
The luggage and other belongings of the policemen also suffered damage while weapons were saved. Some goods were washed away from the police post and Trade Centre complex due to flash flood. The water also entered in all the rooms at the ground floor and caused damage to the record and other goods and articles. Due to suspension of trade between India and Pakistan for the last many months, there was not much staff at the Centre except few Chowkidars.
The district administration Poonch also visited the Centre during the day today and took stock of the damage caused there. The compound of the Centre remained waterlogged during the whole day and the staff opened the rooms and were seen checking and drying their record in the sun during afternoon.
The locals alleged their standing crops have suffered heavy damage. Many fields have turned into barren lands like Khuds while land erosion has taken place at most of the places in their agriculture lands. They have urged the district administration to provide relief/ compensation to the poor farmers.
Meanwhile, Thannamandi-Bafliaz-Shopian roadwas closed after massive land slide near Dera- Ki- Gali during early morning hours today. The mountainous road at that point has U- Turn and upper and lower portion of the road have been badly damaged.
About 200 metres portion of the road has been affected and a large number of vehicles were trapped and kept stranded for long on both sides. Many vehicles were then diverted via Bafliaz-Surankote-Manjakote-Rajouri route as there was no hope of road clearance today.
A senior Traffic police official said that road is likely to be cleared by tomorrow during the mid day as retaining wall is needed to be raised at large height and mudslide and light rain hampered the restoration work for long.
SDM Thanamandi, Vikas Dhar and SDPO Imtiaz Hussain besides Tehsildar Sahil Shah were closely monitoring restoration work on this road. They directed construction company engineers to clear the road as early as possible.