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Posted at: Jan 22, 2015, 12:23 AM; last updated: Jan 21, 2015, 11:50 PM (IST)LANDSLIDE FALLOUT

Lake created out of Phuktal river poses threat in Kargil

Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 21

A grave situation has arisen in the Zanskar subdivision of Kargil due to creation of an artificial lake on the Phuktal river after a huge landslide blocked the river.

This lake was created after a landslide blocked the river which approximately created a 10-km long lake.

Due to the threat, the district administration has approached the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

“The lake has been created around 90 km from the Padam area of Zanskar and beyond 43 km no one can go by foot. After consulting all local engineers, including Army engineers, we were not able to do anything,” said Muhammad Sadiq Sheikh, Deputy Commissioner, Kargil.

“Though the river water is still frozen, once it starts melting it could become a threat to the entire area. The district administration has alerted people to move to safer places so that once water breaches the artificial lake, its level can raise, which can become threat to people,” he said.

“A few villages in and around the Padam area have been given direction to move to higher areas. We have alerted the administration, but we don’t have any control over the situation. The NDMA will have to deal with the situation,” the Deputy Commissioner added.

This area holds importance as it is en route the world famous Chadar trek, where tourists from all over the world come every year. The Nimo-Bazgo hydroelectric project also gets the water supply from Phuktal.

The district administration is keeping an eye on the situation by monitoring the area through aerial surveys.

Meanwhile, Executive Councillor for Tourism Power and Zanskar Affairs, LAHDC Kargil, Skalzang Wangyal has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for sending a team from the National Disaster Management Force for early solution of the blocked Phuktal, which is a cause of concern for entire Zanskar valley as well as for those living in low-lying areas of Leh and Kargil.

He also urged the Union Defence Minister, MoS Home, and Ladakh MP for early operation of MI-17 helicopter services for the stranded passengers of the valley.

NDMA to evolve plan
Jammu: Following the directions of Governor NN Vohra, the NDMA has been told to constitute a multi-disciplinary expert group with representatives from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Central Water Commission, Survey of India, Geological Survey of India and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology to evolve an action plan for dealing with the situation arising due to landslides and consequential blockage of the Phuktal river between Shaday Sumdo and MarShun in the Zanskar subdivision of Kargil district.

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