Centre To 'Blast' Artificial Lake In Jammu And Kashmir

17 February 2015
The New Indian Express
Yatish Yadav

New Delhi: Top officials from the Ministry of Defence(MoD), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have decided to carry out controlled blasting with the help of laser guided bombs to breach an artificial lake in Zanskar valley, Jammu & Kashmir, which is swelling dangerously and could lead to a major calamity once snow begins to melt from next month. The artificial lake was created by a landslide at Phuktal River approximately 5.5 km from Shaday Sumdo towards Marshun in Zanskar, subdivision of Kargil District of Ladakh Region. The district administration has already imposed a ban on the trekking route last month as bursting the dam could cause flash flood. The government has already made necessary arrangements for the evacuation of villagers near the lake and an emergency team has been deployed at Neraks village to stop the trekkers from venturing into the danger zone. According an MHA official, National Crisis Management Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was informed about the potential threat after an expert team comprising officials from the Central Water Commission, Geological Survey of India and National Remote Sensing Centre returned from the affected areas. The sudden burst of the lake could trigger boulders affecting a nearby power plant. 'The technical agencies are examining two solutions. The first solution is to conduct a controlled and supervised blasting, using some explosives to breach the landslide dam and make a channel for flow of water. In case the first option does not work out, the second solution is to explore the use of laser guided bombs for breaching the dam,' an MHA official said. The meeting chaired by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju also discussed the habitation's distance from the artifical lake. The size of the blockade is 600m long, 50-60m wide and about 50m thick. The gradient of the gorge is 70 degree and temperature varies from -20 to -40 degree centigrade. A detailed survey of the population and property has been prepared. The team that visited the site has collected soil and rock samples for further investigation. Rijiju is understood to have told officials that the blasting of the lake should be carried out at the earliest.