Land subsidence in Doda’s Nai Basti village: Experts point to new constructions, water seepage


Though the two-member team of experts from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) is yet to submit its report to the government, water seepage into the mountainside village in the absence of a proper drainage system, new constructions in recent years and being a sinking area of 1980s prima facie seem to be the triggers behind land subsidence in Nai Basti village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district.

At least 22 houses were emptied out on Friday and 300 people moved from Doda’s Nai Basti after cracks spread across several structures, leading to the collapse of at least three. The incident has drawn parallels with the crisis in Joshimath.

Official sources confided to HT that in the absence of proper drainage system, water from houses kept seeping into the mountain slope in the village.

“Despite being a sinking area of 1980s, people from upper reaches of the Doda district kept raising new constructions. Therefore, sinking area, water seepage and new constructions prima facie seem to be the triggers behind the land subsidence,” they added.

It may be stated here that Chenab River flows close to the village and the area gets moderate to heavy rainfall during monsoons. Sub-divisional magistrate of Thathri, Athar Amin Zargar, however, informed that the land subsidence hasn’t spread further since Thursday.

“Situation is under control. The zone of influence hasn’t spread since Thursday and no new structure has developed cracks, which is a positive thing for us. However, cracks in the damaged houses within the zone of influence have increased,” he said.

On GSI’s formal report, Zargar said, “it is yet to be submitted to the government.”

The two-member GSI team in its report will trace the exact root cause behind land subsidence.

Doda region falls under seismic zone category, vulnerable to earthquakes.

Zargar said that since Thursday the status of the affected houses remained the same.

“Nineteen houses were severely affected and three collapsed since Thursday but there are no new cracks in the remaining houses so far,” he added.

The GSI team on Saturday morning visited the village and collected some samples besides surveying the area where land subsidence has occurred.

The administration in the union territory has not announced any compensation for the affected resident.

LG Manoj Sinha on Saturday said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was keeping a close watch but denied the situation was akin to the crisis in Joshimath.

The administration has set up relief camps and is providing the evacuees with food and other necessities.

4 families shifted to school after houses developed cracks in Ramban

Meanwhile, around eight to ten days ago, the police had shifted four families to government high school in Ramsu after their houses developed cracks following an expansion work on a highway in Ramban district.

Ramsu SHO inspector Naem-ul-Haq said, “A road construction work, part of the national highway project, is on in the area, for which the authorities had acquired land where two houses were constructed. During rains around 10 days ago, the two houses, which were vacant, collapsed. However, rains triggered sliding of the land which has 12 houses over it”.

“The NHAI authorities have surveyed the area and reconciliatory measures are being taken. However, the possibility of the remaining houses sliding down cannot be ruled out,” he added.

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