A day after a part of mountain crumbled at Pantha Chowk area here damaging a residential house, more than 20 families could not sleep due to fear as small rocks continued to roll down during the night.
The residents demanded immediate rehabilitation of vulnerable 20 families to avoid loss of life and property. Residents said that soon after the mountain part crumbled and a big rock hit the house of a widow identified as Irshada Bano fear gripped rest of the residents as they preferred remain awake.
"I am a widow and my daughter used to earn through stitching clothes. Somehow, we were managing to survive. Unfortunately, the big rock that hit my house also damaged the sewing machine of my daughter," said Irshada, who has shifted her belongings to one of her relative's house on the safer side in Pantha Chowk.
The residents have decided to raise pitch for rehabilitating all the 20 families as they believe there is no other solution. "Our livelihood is dependent on the stone quarrying. If we demand ban on quarrying, we would die due to starvation. So it is better to ensure proper rehabilitation of the families whose houses lie on the lap of the mountain range of Pantha Chowk," they said.
President of Auqaf Committee Panthachowk, Ali Muhammad said that "government must take serious note of the problems being faced by the families whose houses can be hit by rocks again." "There is no doubt that the mountain range has been exploited to the hilt. The fact remains that the mountain parts can cave in or crumble anytime as its heavily snowing and in the next three months, Kashmir will witness frequent rainfall," he said.
"These 20 families are under constant threat. How long can relatives feed them? Government must rehabilitate these families on fast track basis to avoid human tragedy," he said.
Umar Bebaak of Pantha Chowk also supported the demand for immediate rehabilitation of all the families, whose houses are in the lap of the mountain range.
"During the night, small rocks were crumbling, which gave sleepless nights to the entire population of Pantha Chowk," he said.
Pertinently, the Geologists have already declared the Pantha Chowk mountain range as unsafe, stating that the "mountains have been exploited to every extent and crumbling of rocks can be a routine affair in the days ahead."