Anantnag: A sinkhole in the Brengi stream at Wandevalgam village of Kokernag in south Kashmir's Anantnag district has disrupted the water flow posing threat to flora and fauna downstream.
The vertical hole, experts believe is a natural phenomenon developed due to the gradual dissolution of limestone rocks in the river.
A whirlpool is formed and the entire water discharges into this hole. This is the second such instance in the recent past in the area.
Earlier, in the year 1995, one such sinkhole developed in the stream barely a few meters above which was later filled up with sand, gravel, and boulders.
That sinkhole had an outlet at Achabal. However, as of now a team of flood control, irrigation department, geology, and mining, Public Health Engineering (PHEE) department who are monitoring the situation are yet to find the outlet of this sink-hole.
“The discharge at Achabal is presently the same. So, the outlet of the sink isn’t there,” a flood control official said. He said for now they are going to divert the water.
“We would treat the sinkhole only after getting suggestions from the team of experts from the geology and mining department,” an official said. Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Dr Piyush Singla who visited the spot said a scientific survey will be carried out by the experts.
“The sink is of sizeable dimension with 50 cusec discharge which is quite high. A team of the Geology and Mining Department is here to carry out the geological study,” DC said.
He appealed to the people to follow the advisory of district administration and not venture out near to the site as it could prove to be fatal.
Earlier, Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Kokernag, Sarib Sehran issued an order imposing restrictions under section 144 around the site. “In order to carry out the necessary protection work at the site, it is important that the general public doesn’t come near to the site,” the order read.
Dr Hamidulah Wani, Professor Department of Geology at Women's college Pulwama suggested a geophysical and gravity survey to ascertain the path of the cavity- underground river system.
“At times entire area can collapse due to denudations. This has happened in many other parts of the world. So, the gravity survey is a must,” Wani said.
He said the sinkhole is formed due to the chemical dissolution of lime-stone rocks in the river and has nothing to do with the movement of plates.
“There can be several sinkholes in the area, but only become evident once they collapse fully,” Dr. Wani said.
Assistant Director (AD) Fisheries, Muhamad Sidique said they have directed the fisherman to shift the fish to safer locations.
“There has been no such damage to trout fish as such. These fish do somehow manage to find the habitat by escaping to the nearby small pools,” the AD said. However, experts believe if the stream downstream would remain dry for a longer period it would pose threat to flora and fauna. “This can also affect the irrigation system and water supply in the villages which rely on the waters of Brengi Nalla (stream),” they said.
The Brengi river is one of the major tributaries of Jehlum formed by the confluence of three streams Nowbugh stream, Ahlan Gadol stream and Daksum stream. Nowbugh stream originates from the glaciers of Margan Top- Kishtwar side and Daksum stream from the glaciers of Sinthan in Anantnag district. Kokernag area is also popularly known as Bringhi river valley.