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'We are living on Maggie; drinking water is black’

india Updated: Aug 09, 2010 17:25 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
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Drinking water has turned black in Leh’s Chi Shodh village due to flood water spurred by a cloudburst on the intervening night of August 5-6. Around 21 Kargil residents, including women and children, are held up in the village with intermittent rains on.

Cut off both from Leh and Kargil towns, 230 km apart from each other, due to landslides on the Leh-Srinagar highway, around 21 villagers of Kargil’s Saku village are stuck with no safe drinking water and food.

“We are living on Maggie bought in Leh town when we left for Kargil on the intervening night of August 5-6. Since then all of us with nine women and six children are stranded at Chi Shodh village…there is no question of having a cup of tea in this cold,” Liaqat Ali, a stranded resident, told Hindustan Times on phone.

Ali said he is not able to contact to his family in Kargil because the telephone lines are not working in his village. All the stranded travelers, mainly Muslims, are putting up in a Buddhist monastery, 25-30 km away from Leh.

“We just sleep for 2-3 hours in the night fearing cloudburst and in the day, move to higher ups from the highway to escape any landslide,” said Ashiq Hussain, another stranded Kargil resident, over the phone.

J&K’s Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and Transport minister Qamar Ali Akhoon, also a resident of Kargil, said: “Chi Shodh is comparatively better place right now. There are nearby villages where the held up people can take shelter. They are all helpful and very hospitable people”.

But stranded Liaqat Ali contested it saying “nearby villagers have shifted to other safer areas”.

Akhoon, who receives dozens of SOS messages in the day, said the government is trying to reach to those areas first that are completely cut off and villages completely wiped off.

“Priority is to retrieve bodies at this point and to shift injured in choppers for treatment,” said Akhoon.

Five Kargil residents have died so far in the cloudburst, including a child. The bodies have already reached Kargil.

“I just received news of a missing driver. There is good news too. Many drivers and passengers stranded on Leh-Kargil road are thankfully safe,” said Akhoon.

The minister said it will take at least two days to make the Leh-Kargil road motorable.