"No warning of dam water release"

The national highway between Dehradun and Srinagar is currently broken at Byasi and Devprayag, with silt measuring upto 10 ft. covering an enormous area, in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district.

According to the residents of Shakti Vihar, an area in Srinagar, this disaster occurred on June 17 at around 3.00 a.m. when the Srinagar dam authorities lifted the dam gates.

Ajay Uniyal, a resident, said, “The rainfall on June 16 was so much that the water reached up to our knees, and to add to it, the dam authorities released water without a prior warning.”

Mr. Uniyal said the silt was from the debris lying around the dam construction site. “The water swept all the debris lying around the dam construction site and deposited it here.”

Ritu Raj Singh, another resident, said, “Such an incident happened at Bhaktiyana in 1971 as well, but that year only water filled the area and everything became fine once the water level receded.”

According to the residents, the water level this time was three to four metres higher than the previous floods.

Aradhana Negi, a resident of Bhaktiyana, said, “People, whose houses have been destroyed, are taking shelter in some houses uphill and in some government guest houses while their belongings [whatever remain)]are lying on the terrace of their respective silt-filled houses.”

Pradeep Mal, another resident of the area, said, “Though residents were saved, cattle were killed under the silt.”

“Quintals of fish that was the river brought along are also rotting under the debris,” said Mr. Mal.

Every person passing by the site could smell the rotten flesh. “This can cause disease but the authorities have not yet bothered to take any action,” said Ms. Negi.

A Services Selection Board (SSB) Academy, a gas godown, a ration godown, a silk farm, hundreds of houses, vehicles, and animals were affected by the massive flashfloods that hit Srinagar.

Ms. Negi said, “Every year the river water enters the houses that are near it. People complain, but the authorities do not bother to take action. Then monsoons end and people too become silent on the issue.”

While people from the municipality, along with around 300 social workers, are helping the people of Srinagar, everyone fears the next rains, and most of all, the water that will be released from the Srinagar dam without any prior warning.

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