Hundreds rendered homeless as massive landslide damages dozens of houses in Ramban

RAMBAN: A massive landslide damaged 28 houses in a village along Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, rendering hundreds of people homeless, officials said on Sunday.

The landslide had also damaged a 500-meter stretch of the 270-km highway, diminishing the chances of early restoration of the traffic on the arterial road which remained closed for the third consecutive day on Sunday, the officials said.

Ramban's Additional Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma said the incessant rains over the past two days led to the massive landslide and sinking of Dalwan village land near Chanderkote. "At least 28 houses have been damaged, requiring shifting of 40 families to safer places in nearby schools," Sharma, who is supervising the relief and rescue operation, told PTI.

He said a team of officers along with rescue teams from police and paramilitary forces rushed to the village on Saturday after reports of massive landslides along with sinking of land. "At least 15 houses have suffered extensive damages while the rest 13 houses have suffered partial damages," the official said, adding the affected 40 families were offered shelter inside quarters at Nashri but they declined and were later accommodated in nearby schools.

He said the district administration is making all necessary arrangements for the affected families.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic, National Highway) Ajay Anand said the Dalwan landslide has also damaged a 500-metre stretch of the highway, causing a serious setback to the efforts of early restoration of traffic on the crucial highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.

The traffic on the highway was suspended on Friday afternoon after heavy rains triggered landslides and shooting stones from the hillocks at nearly a dozen places between Chanderkote and Banihal.

"The land sinking is still going on at Dalwan landslide site...It will take several days to repair the highway to make it trafficable again," Anand said.

Only hundreds of Kashmir-bound trucks carrying essential commodities are stranded on the highway and would be cleared once the road is made traffic-worthy, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir administration ordered a shutdown of all establishments except those providing essential services and commodities on March 22 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has so far claimed two lives in the Union Territory.

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PTI