19 families shifted after houses in J&K village develop cracks

Situated on slopes with the Chenab river nearby, Doda district’s Nai Basti, where the earth started slipping four days ago, houses around 50 structures

February 03, 2023 10:43 pm | Updated 10:43 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Cracks that appeared in houses at Nai Basti area in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Cracks that appeared in houses at Nai Basti area in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. | Photo Credit: PTI

Nineteen families were shifted after around 21 structures developed large cracks due to the sinking surface in the Chenab valley’s Doda district on Friday.

Situated on slopes with the Chenab river nearby, Doda’s Nai Basti houses around 50 structures. According to locals, earth started slipping four days ago but inflicted damage on most houses in the past 24 hours. The first such case was reported in December last year, they said.

“One side of the slope is slipping. The situation was aggravated last night when we received panic calls around midnight. A total of 21 houses, one masjid and a madrassa were evacuated. The area is under a red alert,” Athar Amin Zargar, Sub-District Magistrate, Thathri, said. 

Several families were shifted to the Government Higher Secondary School for Boys in Doda. Locals said it’s for the first time that the area has witnessed damages to houses due to slipping earth.

The growing cracks in houses have spread panic in parts of Doda. “Most of the affected houses have become unliveable due to wide cracks, weakening the structure,” a resident of Nai Basti said. 

Six structures have developed major cracks, locals said. “Assessment of the structures is going on,” Mr. Zargar said.

“The village overlooks the Chenab river. No incident of land sinking was reported earlier. This is for the first time that such an incident has occurred,” Syed Imran, head of the Ababeel Trust, an NGO catering to the needs of the evacuated families, said.

Union Minister and Member of Parliament Jitendra Singh said a Geological Survey of India team is already on its way to the affected spot to study the underlying causative factors. “Short- and long-term remedial measures, as required, will be undertaken,” Mr. Singh said.

The incident has triggered fears among locals in Doda, where work on several hydro power projects is ongoing. A similar phenomenon was observed in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath recently where hundreds of families were shifted after cracks developed in houses due to slipping land.

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