Avalanche threat: 40 families shifted from Waltengoo

KHALID GUL

Kulgam, Jan 19: Amid avalanche threats in the wake of heavy snowfall, police have evacuated about 40 families comprising 130 persons in the remote village of Waltengoo Nar in this South Kashmir district.
A police official said that teams were dispatched on Friday evening to rescue the villagers in the avalanche prone area. “As a precautionary measure, we dispatched a team of about 40 policemen to rescue about 40 households consisting of about 130 villagers from Waltengoo Nar area which is avalanche prone,” Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Muhammad Shafi Mir told Greater Kashmir.
He said the villagers living in upper reaches of the area were shifted to safer destinations in lower reaches of Waltengoo village where they are putting up along with their relatives.
“There have been no reports of any avalanche hitting the area and the villagers will be allowed to move to their places once the weather improves,” said the SP. He said the district administration has provided eatables and other essential commodities to the villagers.
“The measure was undertaken in view of vulnerability of the area to snowstorms and avalanches,” said Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Jahangir Mir, who supervised the shifting operation. A police spokesman said 30 personnel have been stationed at Waltengoo to meet any emergency.
Earlier, the villagers had refused to shift saying the government has failed to provide them the huts sanctioned for them after an avalanche hit the area in 2005 claiming about 175 lives. However, after assurances from district administration that their problem will soon be addressed, they agreed to come down from the hilly terrain.
“In 2005 when the tragedy hit the area, the government promised us huts in lower reaches of Waltengoo village but even after eight years about 55 families have still not been provided the huts,” said the villagers.
They said that about 35 cases of ex-gratia relief were still pending.
“We have been knocking the doors of officials for eight years but to no avail,” the villagers said.
On February 22, 2005, avalanches, mud slides and snow storm killed about 175 people in Waltengoo Nar and Kund villages following heavy snowfall in the area. The villages are situated about 25 kilometers from Kulgam town at the foothills of Pir Panjal range and are vulnerable to snow storm and avalanches.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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