Phutkal blockage: NDMA submits report to GoI

Phutkal blockage: NDMA submits report to GoI

Phutkal river got completely blocked on January 15 due to landslides, forming an artificial lake at a stretch of about five kms towards Chumik Gyatsa.

The high-level team of experts from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which recently conducted spot assessment on Phutkal river blockage in Kargil, Wednesday submitted its report to the Government of India.


Officials said the NDMA has submitted the report for finalizing strategy to remove the blockage.


Phutkal river got completely blocked on January 15 due to landslides, forming an artificial lake at a stretch of about five kms towards Chumik Gyatsa.


Officials said the NDMA team in its report has recommended several measures including controlled blasting of the blocked stretch of the river and digging a channel to release the accumulated water.


The report states that approximate volume of accumulated water is 24 million cubic meters while the blockage is 600 metres long, 50-60 metres wide and 50 metres thick.


“The NDMA report has stated there is no immediate danger of release of accumulated waters as it is in frozen state. However, the report warns that abrupt release of waters can cause devastation of low lying areas and also affect power plants downstream,” an official said. 


Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Rohit Kansal, said the NDMA team has incorporated all aspects of the blockage and recommended several measures to tackle with the problem.


“The final decision on the NDMA recommendations will be taken during a meeting to be chaired by Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth on February 20,” Kansal said.


The Cabinet Secretary had on January 24 formed NDMA committee comprising experts from Central Water Commission (CWC), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), Survey of India (SoI) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to formulate a strategy to deal with Phutkal blockage.


Officials said the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, had a few days ago reviewed situation arising due to the blockage and directed for immediate measures to safely release accumulated waters.


On February 13, the NDMA team conducted ground survey and collected samples of soil and boulders to arrive at a realistic conclusion.


J&K 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.

Member Parliament from Ladakh,


Thupstan Chhewang, has also been seeking Government of India’s intervention to deal with the situation.


Meanwhile, Chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Kargil and MLA-elect Kargil, Asgar Ali Karbalai, on Wednesday called on Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad to apprise him about the impending risks due to blockage of Phutkal river.



Karbalaie said the looming threat due to this natural disaster has spurred consternation amongst people living downstream in the catchment area of river Phuktal.


He request Azad to persuade the NDMA to undertake immediate mitigation measures to safeguard the lives of the threatened populace.



“Azad immediately took up the matter with Secretary, NDMA, RK Jain and called for a serious intervention to save the entire Zanskar Valley and its inhabitants from an impending disaster.


Azad also drew attention of RK Jain towards the threat that is posed to Nimo-Bazzo Hydel Power Project by the massive lake created by the landslide,” an official communiqué said.



It said the Secretary NDMA assured Azad that the operation to drain out the water accumulated in the artificial lake will be commenced within a week time and all steps required will be taken to safeguard the lives and properties of the people.



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