NDMA's aerial survey of Phuktal blockage today

JAMMU: The expert committee of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today said there was no risk of flashfloods following blocking of the Phuktal river in Zanskar subdivision of Kargil district.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 9

The expert committee of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today said there was no risk of flashfloods following blocking of the Phuktal river in Zanskar subdivision of Kargil district.

The committee, headed by Central Water Commission Director VD Roy, reviewed the situation arising out of the blocking of the river and decided to conduct an aerial survey of the area tomorrow.

After a trial landing, the Air Force helicopter would land the expert team on the site to closely examine the ground situation.

The team opined that there was a maximum chance of mitigating the problem that had arisen from the blocking of the river.

They said their effort would be to assess the ground reality in terms of topography, nature of landslide, water level and technical details to initiate steps as soon as possible.

Roy said the first effort would be to get rid of the blockage. He called for an automatic river monitoring system near the site to keep a check on the water level hourly.

He recommended manual observers at Phuktal and a second warning system at Padum using satellite-based transmitters.

G Prasanna Ramaswamy, Kargil DC and nodal officer for liaising, said the team was likely to conduct a visit tomorrow and then make a statement. No conclusion had been drawn yet, he added.

“We will be able to arrive at a conclusion in the next two or three days,” he said. The meeting was attended by Zanskar executive councillor Skalzang Namgial and Leh DC Saugat Biswas.

Members of the committee including OP Gupta, Director, CWC; BD Patni, Director, NHPC; BM Gairola, Director, GSI; Maheshwar Singh, Officer Surveyor, Survey of India; RK Varma, Scientist F, SASE; RK Dhiman, SE (HQ), Vijayak; Maj Abhishek Kumar, 70 Engineering Regiment; Rajesh Kumar Basotra, SDM, Zanskar; and a medical officer nominated by the state government.

Governor NN Vohra had urged the NDMA to constitute a multi-disciplinary expert group to evolve an action plan for dealing with the situation arising from landslides and the subsequent blockage.

IAF airlifts stranded people

Leh: As the weather in Ladakh improved on Monday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) operated two sorties of the advanced light  helicopter from Leh to Padum in the  Zanskar valley of Kargil district to airlift the stranded passengers. The helicopter services were resumed on Monday after remaining suspended for some time. 

Those who were airlifted were stranded since the second week of January after the closure of the traditional route — Chader — by the district administrations of Leh and Kargil due to the blockage of the Phuktal river. 

The Chader route passes over the frozen Zanskar river and is used by people to travel between Leh and Padum. It is the only route through which the people of Zanskar can travel in the winter after the closure of the Kargil-Padum national highway. 

Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil, Zanskar Affairs, Skalzang Wangail said the Air Force had informed him that the MI-17 helicopter would operate from tomorrow to airlift the stranded.

 

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