Floods, Rains Wreak Havoc; 34 More Die, Toll Mounts To 162

6 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Gopal Sharma

Jammu: As the rain and flood fury wreck havoc across the State for the fourth consecutive day, the death toll in Jammu region has gone up to 162 with the 34 more deaths reported today from Udhampur, Poonch and Reasi areas while Tawi bridge connecting 22 villages of Phallain-Mandal washed away and fourth bridge over Tawi was extensively damaged as river was flowing 16 ft above danger mark today, forcing administration to stop movement of traffic on all the bridges in Jammu city. Ten more dead bodies of the marriage party members including bridegroom, who washed away in a flooded nallah along with the bus in Lam area of Nowshera, were recovered today. Out of the total 63 'Baratis', the bodies of 35 have been recovered so far while 28 are still missing. Body of bridegroom, Sukwinder Singh (25), was recovered from the area, about 25 kms downstream. Many bodies are suspected to have washed away to PoK. The Air Force, Army and Police besides Civil Defence teams rescued over 5500 people from various flood affected areas including Samba, Kathua, Jammu, Akhnoor, Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi and Udhampur. Train service to Udhampur and Katra Mata Vaishnodevi has been suspended from Jammu as land slides has blocked track at many places. The Jammu- Srinagar National Highway, Jammu-Poonch and Batote Doda-Kishtwar roads besides many other links remained blocked on the third day today. A large number of vehicles have been stranded at many places. Chinab, Tawi, Ujh and many other rivers were flowing above danger mark today forcing closer of bridges by the Administration. The vehicles remained stranded for hours together even on the Jammu-Pathankote National Highway and Jammu city. River Tawi was flowing 16 ft above the danger mark today. The danger mark is 17 ft in Tawi at Jammu. As the water crossed 28 ft level and was flowing just closer to the main bridge near Bikram Chowk, the authorities closed the bridges at around 8.15 am and stopped the movement of vehicles. Even, on- foot movement was not allowed. At 10 am the water level was 30 ft and at around 11.30 ft crossed 33 ft mark. The only bridge connecting nearly 22 villages of Phallain Mandal with Raipur Satwari area of Jammu washed away as the water crossed over it. Another 4th bridge over river Tawi near Bhagwati Nagar was damaged after flood waters washed away the protection wall in the middle of the two bridges on Nikki and Baddi Tawi. Infact, the concerned authorities had abandoned the proper protection work at the bridge site, resulting in much damage to a potion of this vital bridge and the approach road. A large portion of it also washed away, exposing the authorities. Even one of the gated structures of the artificial lake over Tawi has been damaged. The flood created havoc in many low lying villages of Akhnoor, Pargwal, Jourian and Khour besides Nanga, Kamore, Rangoor Camp areas of Ramgarh in district Samba. The bunds over Devak and Basantar rivers breached and water entered in many villages of the area, causing extensive damage to the property. The Army and BSF used boats and tubes to evacuate people to the safer points. Paddy crop suffered extensive damage in this entire belt spread over 4-5 sq kms in Ramgarh. Fencing along IB also got damaged at two places in the area. Due to massive flood in Basantar, Devak and Ujh the movement of traffic on National Highway between Lakhanpur and Jammu was also suspended for several hours today. The water in Akhnoor was flowing nearly 13 ft above danger mark today. About a dozen villages in the low lying areas of Akhnoor, Jourian, Khour and Pargwal have been abandoned by the people as a bund over Chenab got breached near Sitryal. The district administration has provided shelter to over 6000 affected villagers to many schools and temples of the area. The langars have also been arranged by civil administration and Army for the flood hit villagers. Shitryal, Bakore, Indri Pattan, Badwal, Chak Sikender and Mirpur Kona are badly hit. Northern Railway today cancelled train services to Udhampur and Katra Mata Vaishnodevi due to heavy floods and breaches on tracks besides land slides between Jammu and Katra section. The track had also suffered damage due to floods at several points, a senior Northern Railway official said. He said five train services - three between New Delhi and Katra and one each between Jammu and Udhampur, and Anand Vihar and Udhampur, have been cancelled. The train services between Pathankot and Katra, Katra and Jammu slated for tomorrow have also been cancelled. The Katra bound passengers travelling in New Delhi-Katra Shri Shakti Express got stuck for hours some km away from Ramnagar Station at the track following mudslides on the railway track till last reports came in. According to reports, the mud slide on the track forced the Express to halt at some 10-15 km short of Udhampur station on Udhampur-Katra track. The local administration and police have provided breakfast and lunch to the stranded passengers and the train crew. The DIG Reasi-Udhampur Range, Gareeb Dass said that the incessant rains caused an abrupt mud slide on the track giving a forced halt to Katra bound train the New Delhi-Katra Shri Shakti Express here toady at around 0800 hrs. He disclosed that soon after receiving information he along with force men rushed to the spot and provided assistance to the passengers and the train crew. He said at least 516 including 491 passengers are on board. The DIG said that hostile weather is creating hurdles in the track clearing operation. Meanwhile, Indian Air Force (IAF) has pressed into service men and material to rescue people from flood-hit areas across the State. In past 48 hours, the IAF mounted IL-76 sorties and pressed into action two AN-32 aircraft to airlift NDRF teams and equipment from Bhatinda to Srinagar and Jammu Air Force bases. The Western Air Command has opened a disaster monitoring cell that is coordinating between all its bases including Srinagar, Udhampur, Jammu and Sarsawa apart from fixed wing effort from other bases. A Defence spokesman here said bad weather in Srinagar hindered the relief operations by Helicopter. A total of six sorties by MI-17 IV and MI 17 V-5 were launched from Jammu airbase that evacuated 108 personnel, including three children. Of these, 94 personnel were moved to safer areas and many of them were stranded on roof tops and marooned in floods. The IL-76 airlifted 32 tonnes of load and 162 NDRF personnel to Srinagar while two AN-32 carried 25 NDRF personnel and load of four tonnes to Air Force Station, Jammu. The IAF has assigned aircraft at its bases at Agra, Chandigarh, Suratgarh and Sarsawa apart from those in J&K area for the relief operation. Reports from Udhampur said that twenty (20) persons were killed and six injured as several houses collapsed in last 24 hours. Six members of a family belonging to Ghulam Hussain were buried alive under their muddy house at Talpad village near Jaganu today. The deceased are identified as Gulzara begum (50), wife of Ghulam Hussain, Riaz Ahmed, son of Ghulam Hussain, Rashida wife of Mohd Khaliq and three children Naseera (1yr), Masooma (3) and Trishana (6). In yet another incident of house collapse at Rakh Badali near Police Training Academy, Ravi Kumar (5) and Pooja (3), children of Sanjay Kumar buried alive. Their mother was seriously injured and hospitalised. At Manthal another house collapsed in which two persons were killed. They are identified as Roma Devi (48), wife of Prem Chand and Pankaj Kumar (7) son of Mohan Lal. Two minor boys- Manjit Singh-7 and Rajiv Singh-7, sons of Sanjeet Singh of Upper Thanoa near Jaganoo buried alive in house collapse today. A family member was also injured in the mishap. A woman was injured and her baby killed when shooting stones hit a house of one Roshan Lal at Shatreri in Ramnagar area. Six more persons were killed and two injured in a house collapse at Muttal in district Udhampur today. The deceased are identified as 80-year-old Gullan, wife of Mohammdu, Jullakha Begum-35, wife of Roshan Din, her daughters, Babiyan -13, Parveena Bibi-11, Ashia-9 and son Adil (7). Roshan Din and his brother were injured and they were shifted to Udhampur hospital. Five deaths have been reported from Chasana and Dera Baba area of Reasi district. One Suman Devi, wife of Ram Singh of Namankote in Chasana was killed in a house collapse today. The land slide hit their house. A senior police official said that four members of a family were killed and three injured in a house collapse at Mansoo hamlet near Dera Baba this evening. The deceased are identified as Rafiqa Begum(55), wife of Abdul Aziz, Sazia Bano (4), daughter of Haroon Mohd, Alsa Bano (15), daughter of of Mahaan Ali and Shah Bano (8), daughter of Mahhan Ali. Thre persons injured in the mishap are-Parvez Ahmed, son of Haroon Mohd, Mohd Rashid, son of Raj Mohd and Mohd Alam, son of Raj Mohammed. In Bajalta area of Jammu five (5) persons were buried alive as a house collapsed this afternoon. The police and civilians rushed to the area at Tutein- Di- Khui and retrieved the bodies. The deceased are identified Ashok Singh (25) of Kathua, Sunil Kumar son of Ram Chander, his wife Seema, daughter Neeru (9) and son Pattla (2 yrs), all hailing from Jharkhand. Seven person were rescued while a girl feared washed away after a Tempo No. DL07CM-2409 fell into a flooded nallah near Nandni on Katra Jammu road today. The minor girl Nidhi, daughter of Rishi Paul went missing. Her body could not be recovered. DC Jammu, Ajit Kumar Sahu said that today IAF men rescued about 40 persons trapped in different area of Tawi and Chenab. Over 5000 have been rescued from various areas by Army, Air Force and Police besides Civil Defence teams. He said all the villages of Phallain Mandal have been cut off as the main bridge over Tawi washed away. Total 40 villages have been affected. Due to breach in Tawi bandh near Sure Chak the water entered in many low lying villages and the people have been shifted to safer places. He said five deaths were reported from Bajalta area in house collapse. Over 50 odd houses said to have been damaged in the area so far. SSP Poonch, Shamsheer Hussain said that two persons were killed in Salulian area of Mandi in Poonch due to land slides. They are identified as Ghulam Hussain, son of Alaf Din and Mohd Shafi, son of Wazir Hussain. He said five members belonging to the family of one Nazir Hussain were killed in a house collapse at Hill Kaka area of Surankote last evening. Their bodies were retrieved today. They included Nazir's wife and four children including tow sons and two minor daughters. At Bagial darra house of one Abdul Majid collapsed. His six cattle were killed. Over 40 villagers were evacuated to safer place from there. The bridge over Darungali Nalla was partially damaged and the movement of traffic from Poonch to Surankote vila Kalai bridge was suspended up to 4 pm today. From Potha, Bela and Sanai area of Surankote about 240 villagers trapped for the last three days in the river island, were evacuated by Army and Police teams led by SDPO Ajay Sharma today. Dy Commander of 25 Sector RR and CO of the unit were supervising the operation. The villagers were provided shelter in a school and Animal Husbandry building. The food, blankets and other items were also provided to them. A villager washed away in Suran river when he was collecting timber this afternoon. SDPO Ajay Kumar confirmed the incident he said entire communication in the district has collapsed. Roads are closed and there is no water and power supply for the last four days in the district. About 300 houses reported to have been damaged in the district so far. More reports of damage are pouring in from other areas. Reports from Rajouri said that dead bodies of ten more members of marriage party have been recovered. They included bridegroom Sukhwinder Singh (25). The others are identified as Harpreet Singh (10), son of Bahadur Singh of Rajpura Kamila, Dalbir Singh (22), son of Amar Singh of Rajpura Bhata, Gagandeep Singh (9), son of Jagjeet Singh of Rajpura Bhata, Tarandeep Singh (25), son of Surinder Singh of Rajpura Kamila, Guldev Kour (35), wife of Gurcharan Singh of Rajpura Kamila, Gurmeet Kour (40), wife of Jagdev Singh of Rajpuira Bhata, Narinder Kour (40), wife of Harbans Singh of Kanara, Jarnail Singh (28) son of Harbans Singh of Rajpura Kamila and Ranbir Kour (26), wife of Swarn Singh of Rajpura Kamila. The en-mass cremation of the dead bodies of the deceased persons took place at Rajpura where hundreds of people of the area participated. DC and SSP Rajouri besides several other senior officers also attended the funeral. Out of the 63, 35 bodies have been recovered so far while rest are missing. Official sources said that nearly 1160 houses have been damaged and 73 cattle killed in Rajouri district in last three days due to rain and floods. 560 houses were damaged fully while around 600 partially in the district. Nearly 290 cattle shed were also damaged. Erosion of 4330 kanals of land including standing crops has also been reported. DC Kathua Dr Shaid Iqbal Choudhary said that about 83 persons were rescued from different areas by police and Army besides teams of Civil Defence today. Most of the persons were evacuated from low lying areas of Ujh river which crossed the danger mark and was flowing at the level of 1,52,000 cusecs at 7 am today. About thirty persons were evacuated from Chakra area of Hiranagar. They had been trapped in Tarnah river. The DC said that he along with SSP Mohan Lal, Addl DC Parsanna Ramaswamy and AC Anshul Garag visited many flood affected areas and assessed the situation. The people were accommodated at various places including schools and other Government buildings. They were also provided food and other items. He said about 61 villages in Kathua have been affected. The DC said there was no loss of life in the entire district while most of the roads were closed. He said Kathua-Basohli and Billawar roads were restored in the afternoon but Bani was still cut off. The DC said that aggrieved persons can contact Control Room Kathua at Phone No. 01992234579. DC Samba Mubarak Singh said that he along with SSP Anil Magotra and other officers visited flood hit areas of Ramgarh including Kamore Camp, Nanga and Rangoor. The bund over Besantar river breached there and water entered many villages. There is no loss of life but property worth crores has been damaged. He said the administration was closely monitoring the situation. He said around 150 houses have been damaged and crop suffered extensive damage in Ramgarh area. Meanwhile, no loss of life was reported from Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts today while nearly 400 houses and cattle sheds reported to have been damaged in this area. About half a dozen foot bridges and nearly twenty 'Gharats' have also washed away. The power and water supply to many areas has been snapped and people are badly suffering. Most of the road links are closed for the last three days.