Flood alert in Kashmir, 2 bridges washed away; NHs blocked

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU/Srinagar, June 29: While the authorities have sounded alert in Kashmir after flooded Jhelum crossed danger mark today, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Batote- Kishtwar and Mughal Road were closed after fresh landslides this morning, while many rivers and nallahs were flooded due to continuous rain in many parts of the region for the last two days, whereas, chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine remained suspended due to bad weather.
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River Tawi and Chenab were over flooded today and it made authorities to sound alert in the low lying areas of Jammu district. The flooded nallahs disrupted movement of traffic at several places across the region.

A foot-bridge washed away in Dudu area of Udhampur on Friday.
A foot-bridge washed away in Dudu area of Udhampur on Friday.

Official sources said that heavy rain triggered the fresh landslide at Gangroo near Ramsu in Ramban district during morning hours today. The highway was cleared around 2 pm but again fresh landslides took place after some time and the Highway authorities cleared the road by 4 pm. The traffic was moving slowly on the highway this evening when the reports last were received here.
He said the blocking of the highway left hundreds of vehicles, including the convoy carrying Shri Amarnath pilgrims, stranded.
However, he said all the vehicles have been taken out from the landslide and the shooting stone prone areas as the safety of the commuters is the top priority of the police.
The Amarnath pilgrims had reached Makarkoot when the landslide struck, he said adding heavy rains are continuing all along the highway. With the rain, the restoration work was also affected.
Heavy rains in Banihal-Udhampur and Doda-Kishtwar sectors had also triggered landslides and shooting of stones at four places at Panthial, Digdol in Ramban, Samroli near Udhampur and Drabshalla near Thathri this morning, blocking the road, the official said.
However, the agencies concerned pressed men and machines into service and after hectic efforts cleared the blockade in the shortest possible time. Massive traffic jam was reported at several places along the highway throughout the day, causing lot of hardships for the traffic personnel and police to manage the traffic despite the rain, he added.
Authorities declared flood alert in South Kashmir after the flood in Jhelum water crossed the danger mark this evening at Sangam while incessant rains lashed Kashmir with upper reaches receiving light snowfall.
Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control, Mir Mohammad Shahnawaz, told Excelsior that they have declared floods in South Kashmir after water level in Jhelum at Sangam crossed the danger mark this evening. He said that the water level of Jhelum at Sangam was recorded at 23.2 feet and it was flowing 2.2 feet above danger mark of 21 feet.
Mir said that the water level of Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar is at 16.23 feet, around 1.5 feet below danger level of 18 feet. He, however, said that the water level of Jhelum in Srinagar is rising and may cross danger level during the night.
Heavy rains lashed Kashmir valley here today since this morning and it was raining in South Kashmir since yesterday. The rainfall has led to an increase in the water level in streams and rivers across the Valley.
In view of precipitation, forecast and rise in water levels the habitations residing along tributaries (nallahs) of South Kashmir, especially Vishow Nallah, Lidder Nallah are advised to remain vigilant.
Water level rose in Vaishaw Nallah after incessant rains in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today, washing away several diversions constructed after 2014 flood. Originating from Kousarnag in Aharbal, gushing waters of Vaishaw Nallah triggered the 2014 flood in Kashmir.
Police with the help of SDRF rescued 165 students of Government Boys School Hirpora, Shopian who were trapped in the deluge because of flood in river.
Ashajipora-Mehandi Kadal Anantnag Bypass in district Anantnag has been closed for traffic this evening due to water logging at several places. Water has also entered Doab Stand near the Bypass where there are around two dozen shops. The shopkeepers were shifting their belongings and merchandise this evening.
The floods damaged 33 KV power transmission line at Bangi-Nowgam in Anantnag district by washing away its poles and plunged around two dozen villages in darkness.
However, Director Meteorological Department Sonam Lotus said here that weather is likely to improve from tomorrow. He said that MeT office had already predicted heavy to moderate rains from June 27 to 29 and rains have lashed Kashmir valley and parts of Chenab valley.
He said 7 to 80 mm rain has been recorded in Kashmir valley and higher reaches of Chenab valley but at Baltal which falls on Amarnath Yatra route only 15-20 mm of rain was recorded. He said that moderate to heavy rain is expected again from July 1 to July 2.
Several areas of Srinagar have been waterlogged due to incessant rains that lashed the Valley. Some of the areas in Srinagar city including Khanyar, Fateh Kadal, Baba Demb, Batamaloo interiors, Jahangir Chowk, Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Bemina and Shalteng have been waterlogged due to choking of drains. The residents said that they are facing immense hardships. However, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has pressed water pumps into service to dewater the water logged areas in different parts of Srinagar city. The SMC has also established Control room and general public have been asked to call on 2474499 in case of emergency.
In Anantnag, Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Younis Malik, today chaired meeting of district officers, Engineers of I&FC, R&B, PHE, Police, SDRF, and Red Cross to ensure the relief and rescue for the people of the district living in low line and flood-prone areas. He directed all the district and sectoral officers to remain stationed at the headquarters and also ensure the attendance of their subordinate staff.
The meeting was informed that 1.10 lakh sandbags are available in District Store of Flood Control Department and 10, 000 bags have been issued to AEE, Flood Control, Dooru and Kokernag to meet any eventuality.
The meeting was also informed that 17 Task Force Committees have been made by District Disaster Management Committee Anantnag besides five dewatering pumps are available in MC Anantnag and three pumps in SDRF Anantnag.
Meanwhile, due to threat of flood in Srinagar after rising of water level in Jhelum, Divisional Kashmir Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan ordered closure of schools in Kashmir valley for tomorrow.
Reports from Doda said that landslides took place at Kulgadi and Drabshalla, about 20 kms short of Kishtwar this morning. However, the road was cleared by the authorities at around 12 noon. A large number of vehicles remained stranded for more than five hours on this section.
Due to massive flood in Dunandi area of Kahra -Bunjwan, damage was caused to the machinery at the Kalnai Dam. A dumber was also washed away but it was got trapped in boulders. The house of one Abdul Majid, son of Saif Din collapsed at village Tholran in Gandoh tehsil. However, no loss of life was reported.
Reports from Poonch said that traffic on Mughal Road was also suspended during noon after landslides took place between Chattapani and Peer Gali. The highway could not be cleared by this evening as rain continued there.
The helicopter service from Katra base camp to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine was suspended today due to bad weather while new track to shrine was closed due to heavy rain and apprehensions of landslides.
Reasi-Mahore Road was also blocked due to landslides near Malai Nallah last night but road was restored around 12 noon. Mahore- Sungri-Chassana and Gool Roads were also closed due to landslides at several places. A house of Abdul Rashid, son of Mohd Sultan collapsed at Singli Kote in Chassana today. However, no loss of human life has been reported.
Similar reports have been received from hilly areas of Udhampur, Doda-Bhaderwah and Kathua.
Reports from Latti said that a foot bridge on a nallah at Panchount ibn Dudu Sub Division was washed away today due to flash flood. A large number of people of the area will have to cover more than 14 kms of distance to reach Dudu or Jakhed. This will also cause lot of problems for the students of the area.
Meanwhile, a MeT spokesman said that the night temperature in Jammu dipped further as monsoon rains continued to lash parts of region for the third consecutive day today. He said Jammu had a high of 28 degrees Celsius, 9.7 degrees below the season’s average.
The night temperature dipped to 21.1 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 23.9 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said, adding it was 5.3 notches below average.
He said Batote recorded 132.4 mm of rainfall during the past 33 hours, ending 5.30 pm today. Banihal town registered a rainfall of 85.1 mm during the same period followed by Bhaderwah in Doda district 73.1 mm, Katra 64.8 mm and Jammu 49.9 mm, he added.
The spokesman has predicted decrease in rainfall during next two days.