Phutkal river blockade: NDMA team conducts spot assessment

Phutkal river blockade: NDMA team conducts spot assessment

On Tuesday, the 10-member NDMA team headed by Director of the Central Water Commission V D Roy, had conducted an aerial survey of the spot

A high-level team of experts from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Wednesday conducted spot assessment of the blockade of Phutkal river in Kargil’s Zanskar Valley and collected soil samples to formulate a strategy to avert ‘eco-disaster’ in the mountainous region.

Officials said the four member NDMA team landed near the landslide site in an Indian Air Force chopper and conducted the spot assessment.

“This is for the first time since the river was blocked that anyone had reached there. The team undertook survey of the area and collected soil, rock samples besides conducting volumetric analysis of the artificial lake created by the blockade,” said Deputy Commissioner Kargil, G PrasannaRamaswamy.


Phutkal got completely blocked on January 15 due to landslides, forming an artificial lake on a stretch of about five kms towards Chumik Gyatsa, creating threat of ‘imminent catastrophic flashfloods’ in Zanskar and its low-lying areas in case of bursting of accumulated waters.


Ramaswamy said following the ground study, exact dimensions of the blockade have come to the fore.

“The blockade is about 400-metre long along the river bed, 50 meter high and 100 meter wide across the river bed,” he said.


The NDMA team that visited the spot comprised RK Varma, Scientist DRDO, Maheshwar Singh, Survey Officer, Major DheerajPohad of the 70 Engineering Regiment and SkalzangWangyal, Executive Councillor, Zanskar Affairs, LAHDC, Kargil.


“It was a challenging task to land at the spot,” the DC said.


On Tuesday, the 10-member NDMA team headed by Director of the Central Water Commission V D Roy, had conducted an aerial survey of the spot.


“On the team’s advise, it was decided that a detailed ground survey needed to be conducted to arrive at realistic conclusions.

The team shall analyse findings and submit a detailed report specifying an actionable solution to the problem. The team held several meetings with the state government to formulate a better strategy,” said Divisional Commissioner Kashmir RohitKansal.


Director of the Central Water Commission VD Roy who heads the NDMA team said the report will be submitted to the NDMA.


“We will make a comprehensive report on our survey and recommend measures to safely release the accumulated waters. The NDMA will forward its recommendations to the Jammu and Kashmir government to tackle the situation,” Roy told Greater Kashmir.


Pertinently, Governor NN Vohra had asked the NDMA to constitute a Multi-Disciplinary Expert Group with representatives drawn from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Central Water Commission, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and other concerned to evolve an Action Plan for dealing with the issue.


Following the alarm, the NDMA constituted an expert Committee to proceed to the site. The Member Parliament from Ladakh, ThupstanChhewang has also been seeking Government of India’s intervention to deal with the situation.


In 2010, the flashfloods triggered by a cloudburst in Leh caused massive damage to life and property. In 2014, Jammu and Kashmir also witnessed large scale destruction due to floods triggered by incessant rains.