Kondabal villagers spend sleepless nights fearing another landslide

Kondabal villagers spend sleepless nights fearing another landslide
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SURIA HAMID

GANDERBAL: The residents of Kondabal village situated at the base of a hillock on the banks of Manasbal Lake are apprehensive about landslides hitting the village, like it did once before.
The villagers say the hillock has not been strengthened or secured after the last landslide, which damaged many houses in the area.
A local resident, Abdul Majeed Dar, said the lives of at least 150 families of the village are at risk, as “all the houses have developed cracks”. “Eight families are at utmost risk,” he said.
Residents say officials have visited the village earlier and promised rehabilitate the 150 families living on the bank of lake but nothing has been done on ground.
Most of the households are poor, with men relying mainly on manual labour to make ends meet. They spend sleepless nights worrying about the next landslide.
The other problem, residents said, is that land in the area is settling down, and has settled by some four feet so far.
District Development Commissioner Ganderbal, Dr Piyush Singla told Kashmir Reader that administration is looking for alternative land to rehabilitate the families from the village. He said a landslide had occurred last time, because of mining in the hillock.
A short term measure, however, is to build Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) wall, he said.
“Some of these families work in the quarries there and we are planning to build Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) wall in front of that quarry,” Singla said.
He added that a team from Geology and Mining department which visited the village has reported the hillock as vulnerable with chances of more landslides in the area. After that under Section 144 all mining has been banned in the area.
According to Singla, the administration had identified a land for the villagers in a place called Kohistan, which was under Rakhs and Farms department. However, he said, the department objected to the transfer, due to which the families could not be shifted.
“But it is in the consideration of government and we have sent the detailed report to Tourism Minister on this issue. Our Immediate priority is the protection of people,” he added.

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