A massive landslide damaged 28 houses in a village along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, rendering hundreds of people homeless, officials said on Sunday.
The landslide had also damaged a 500-meter stretch of the270-km highway, diminishing the chances of early restoration of the traffic onthe arterial road which remained closed for the third consecutive day onSunday, the officials said.
Ramban's Additional Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharmasaid the incessant rains over the past two days led to the massive landslideand sinking of Dalwas village land near Chanderkote.
"At least 28 houses have been damaged, requiring shifting of40 families to safer places in nearby schools," Sharma, who is supervisingthe relief and rescue operation, told PTI.
He said a team of officers along with rescue teams frompolice and paramilitary forces rushed to the village on Saturday after reportsof massive landslides along with sinking of land.
"At least 15 houses have suffered extensive damages whilethe rest 13 houses have suffered partial damages," the official said, addingthe affected 40 families were offered shelter inside quarters at Nashri butthey declined and were later accommodated in nearby schools.
He said the district administration is making all necessaryarrangements for the affected families.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic, National Highway)Ajay Anand said the Dalwas landslide has also damaged a 500-metre stretch of thehighway, causing a serious setback to the efforts of early restoration oftraffic on the crucial highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir withthe rest of the country.
The traffic on the highway was suspended on Friday afternoonafter heavy rains triggered landslides and shooting stones from the hillocks atnearly a dozen places between Chanderkote and Banihal.
"The land sinking is still going on at Dalwas landslidesite…It will take several days to repair the highway to make it trafficableagain," Anand said.
Only hundreds of Kashmir-bound trucks carrying essentialcommodities are stranded on the highway and would be cleared once the road ismade traffic-worthy, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir administration ordered a shutdown of allestablishments except those providing essential services and commodities onMarch 22 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has so far claimed twolives in the Union Territory.
Meanwhile, locals alleged that the National HighwayAuthority of India (NHAI) was responsible all this as they have engagedunskilled local contractors for earth cutting on 4-lane highway project.
"Unplanned and unprofessional earth cutting and excavationby local contractors engaged by the National Highway Authority of India isresponsible for all this," they said.