Doda/Jammu, February 3
Nineteen families were evacuated after their homes developed cracks at a village in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, officials said on Friday.
The authorities also declared unsafe a mosque and a religious school for girls at Nai Basti village in Thathri, 35 kilometres from Doda town along the Kishtwar-Batote National Highway.
A few structures in the village started developing cracks a couple of days ago but the situation was exacerbated by a landslide on Thursday with the number of buildings damaged reaching 21.
"We have shifted 19 affected families to a safer location after their houses were rendered unsafe. We are observing the situation and taking steps as per need to ensure their safety," Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Thathri) Athar Amin Zargar told PTI.
The deputy commissioner and the senior superintendent of police visited the spot and assured all help to the affected families, he said.
Zargar, however, refused to compare the situation to that in Uttarakhand's Joshimath -- the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib -- that is facing a major challenge due to land subsidence.
"Comparing the situation in Nai Basti with the sinking town of Joshimath will be an exaggeration. We are faced with a problem of landslide and geologists from Chenab Valley power projects and National Highways Authority of India have already inspected the site," Zargar said.
While some families have shifted to a temporary shelter set up by the district administration, many others have returned to their ancestral homes.
"We are making all necessary arrangements, including food and electricity, at the campsite," Zargar said.
Zahida Begum, whose family was shifted to a temporary site, said they lived in the village for 15 years and were surprised to notice cracks in concrete houses.
"There is panic among 50-plus households in the village. Majority of the structures developed cracks after Thursday's landslide," she said, demanding proper rehabilitation for the affected families.
Farooq Ahmad, another local resident, said 117 members of 19 families of policemen, ex-servicemen, defence personnel and labourers were relocated.
Nai Basti was developed about two decades ago and there was no such problem, he said.
"We request the NGOs and philanthropists to come forward and provide assistance to the affected people," Ahmad added.
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