Baramulla: At least 19 structures suffered damage after incessant rains caused landslides in several villages of Kandi area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday.
The landslide occurred in various landslide-prone areas of the Kandi, especially in Katyawali.
Some structures were also damaged in Walraman, Masjid Angan, Kawhar, Latifabad, Khodpora, and Laridora.
The locals said that incessant rains that engulfed the area since the last several days had caused intense damage to several residential houses, forcing inmates to shift to safer places.
The walls on two sides of a residential house in Katyawali collapsed and the inmates deserted it for their safety.
“My house developed several cracks due to the landslip,” said Irshad Ahmad of Katyawali Kandi, Baramulla.
“The house is now completely unsafe and we have shifted to our relative’s house,” he said.
The landslide has mainly affected Katyawali area where several houses and a road suffered damage.
The panicky residents said that they were afraid to live there and anticipated some mishap if rains did not stop.
“It has already been declared a landslide prone area,” said Muhammad Arif. “Despite assurance of the successive regimes that the residents of the landslide prone areas would be provided a substitute land for residential purposes, nothing has been done in the last three decades.”
Following fresh landslides, the residents of the neighbouring villages too are living in fear.
They said that uninterrupted rains had a potential to cause havoc in the area and could also inflict huge loss to the orchards.
“It is not only residential houses that have suffered damage. At some areas like Rajpora and Thandakasi, orchards too have drifted several meters, causing huge losses to the owners,” said Muhammad Sadiq of Rajpora.
The landslides are not new to the Kandi area of Baramulla district.
In 2015, after landslides occurred in the area, causing the collapse of eight residential houses, the then J&K administration constituted a team of the departments of Geology and Mining and Soil Conservation to carry out a survey of the area.
The survey suggested immediate measures like construction of protection walls and avoiding construction of structures at vulnerable spots.
As per the survey conducted by the Department of Geology and Mining, J&K, “The entire area of Kandi, Baramulla is prone to subsidence and landslides during and after the rainfall.”
The report says that the rainfall in the area acts in two ways, one by creating pore space and second by resulting in displacement.
“The presence of plastic clay does not allow the water to move deep into the ground and provides a way for displacement of overlying mass under heavy load due to water. Most cracks developed in the area are related to the August 2005 earthquake, which have not been treated so far. Such fissures and cracks can prove fatal in the future,” the report says.
According to another report submitted by the officials of the Department of Soil Conservation, “The factors contributing to the disastrous mass movement of the land were of geological, hydrological, and biotic nature.”
It says that the presence of several tributaries in the upper reaches and the lower reaches had manifested in the form of devastative mass movement of the soil.
“A number of gullies have emerged from either side of the sloppy agriculture land like Panzi Kul and Thanda Kasi by the peak showers and the faulty agriculture practices. This has led to the dissection of the area. Due to the nature of soil which is clayey loams in texture, it erodes easily on these steep slopes and siltation of the low-lying areas and nallahs is caused,” the report says.
Suggesting a few measures, the report urged the authorities that constructing the check dams should check the gully erosion.
“Retaining walls and protection bunds must be constructed at vulnerable spots,” it said.
The residents of these villages said that despite a survey report, the district administration had not come up with a concrete plan for their safety so far.
“If the administration is concerned about our lives, it must provide alternate land to us so that we can live there without worries,” they said.
Incharge Tehsildar Baramulla, Rakesh Kumar told Greater Kashmir that he along with the revenue staff visited the area and assured the affected families that they would be provided all sorts of help.
He said that they have identified a few buildings where the affected families could stay.
“As per the revenue team, some fresh houses have suffered fresh cracks while the cracks in the already damaged houses have widened. We have identified some buildings where affected families can stay. However, some families have shifted to the houses of their relatives,” he said.