Phutkal blockage: Five Zanskar bridges washed away in flash floods

At least six bridges were washed away in  flash floods in Zanskar of Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. As a precautionary measure, the residents of scores of hamlets including Padum moved to safer places as the water level in Phuktal river has been showing a rising trend. 

Pertinently, Zanskar Valley was under flood  threat because one of the tributaries of the Zanskar River had been blocked by a massive 200 ft high landslide ‒ equal to height of a 20-storey building). The landslide dam between Shaday Sumdo and MarShun had created a lake that is about 8 km long, whose size was increasing every day.

Locals of Padum Zanskar that all the culverts and bridges located at  different places including Ichar, Padum, Tipting, Chah and Pipcha were washed away due to flash floods. “The water level in the river has been increasing thick and fast and the gushing waters are passing through Zangla-Nimbo road that connects Zanskar with Leh. 

Due to flash floods, educational institutions remained closed on Thursday. “The only bridge that students used to reach Higher Secondary school has been washed away as a result no one turned up there,” said a local Muhammad Akbar. 

An official said there is no flood threat to the areas like Padum as the water level has started decreasing. He confirmed that several bridges and culverts have been washed away due to speedy waters.

Meanwhile, locals blamed National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the present mess. NDRF team that had arrived here received millions of rupees to clear the blockage, but the team did nothing. “The temporary measures taken by the NDRF team did not prove effective,” locals said.

Deputy Commissioner Kargil said that the bursting of artificial lake on river Phuktal caused flash floods. He said that the flood caused damage to the infrastructure and some six bridges have been washed away.