Incessant rains continued in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir for the third consecutive day on Thursday, leading to increase in the water level in major rivers and streams but there was no immediate threat of floods, officials said.
The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, also remained closed for the third day, while landslides triggered by overnight rains led to the closure of several other hilly roads in different parts of the Jammu division this morning, they said.
“The situation so far is under control though the water level in major rivers and streams across Jammu region is increasing due to heavy rains in the catchment areas. However, there is no immediate threat of floods,” Superintending Engineer (hydraulic Circle), Irrigation and Flood Control department Jammu, Sumit Puri told PTI.
He said the water level in river Tawi in the city at noon was 10.30 ft which is seven feet below danger mark while the gauge in river Chenab near Akhnoor in the outskirts of Jammu read 29 feet which is also almost six feet below the danger mark.
“Our teams are monitoring the water level regularly and have already sounded an alert, asking people not to come closer to the swollen water bodies as a precautionary measure,” he said, adding that people need to exercise caution as the weatherman has predicted more rains during the day.
He said the water level in Tawi and other water bodies was expected to increase by two to three feet in the next couple of hours.
Five persons, including a couple, were killed and a number of cattle perished in separate incidents of landslides and house collapse in different parts of the Jammu region, while a bridge and dozens of thatched hutments belonging to Gujjar and Bakarwals were washed away over the past two days.
The residents in many areas also faced a lot of hardships after water from overflowing streams entered their homes and pedestrians had to walk through water-logged roads to reach their destination.
A number of roads in various localities were also damaged by the rains, the officials said, adding that a clear picture about the extent of damage would emerge after a detailed assessment.
The officials said thousands of vehicles, mostly trucks, remained stranded on Jammu-Srinagar national highway which remained closed for the third day on Thursday.
The highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Tuesday after a massive landslide struck the arterial road at Dalwas in Ramban district but the road clearance work was hit by inclement weather which triggered fresh landslides and shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway at nearly a dozen places between Banihal-Nashri sector.
“The highway is still closed as overnight rains triggered fresh landslides and shooting of stones at various places including Panthiyal, Digdole, Samroli, Dalwas, Kunfer, Monkey Morh and Moum Passi,” a traffic department official said, adding that despite inclement weather, the restoration work is going on to ensure early reopening of the road.
He said landslides also forced closure of different hilly roads, including Basohli-Kathua, Kotranka-Rajouri, Paddar-Kishtwar, Basant-Dudu and Doda-Bhaderwah, this morning and the men and machines are on the job to restore these roads.