After cloudburst, flood of woes riles Chamoli villagers

With monsoon rain wreaking havoc in parts of Uttarakhand, villagers in Deval block of Chamoli district continue to live in fear and trepidation 15 days after a cloudburst hit the area

dehradun Updated: Aug 01, 2018 22:58 IST
Arvind Moudgil
Arvind Moudgil
Hindustan Times, Thrali (Chamoli)
Uttarakhand News
Villagers cross a foaming rivulet on a makeshift bridge at Wan in Chamoli district.(HT Photo)

With monsoon rain wreaking havoc in parts of Uttarakhand, villagers in Deval block of Chamoli district continue to live in fear and trepidation 15 days after a cloudburst hit the area, triggering flashfloods, flattening houses and washing away bridges.

Kuling, Didina, and Wan villages were cut off after the cloudburst hit the meadows of Brhamtal (a natural lake) on July 15, causing floods in Neelganga river and Gadgarhi and Buroonkot rivulets. Two motor and four pedestrian bridges were swept away.

A large swathe of agriculture land was washed away at Kuling village, and earth caved in dangerously at some locations. Three houses collapsed and wide cracks developed in more than 13 houses; 16 families have been evacuated, said Kuling village head Bhuvan Singh. “The evacuated families took shelter in the tents provided by the administration near the village.”

A spell of rain heightens the anxiety of the villagers. “The land is continuously caving in; it’s risky to live in other houses,” said Govind Singh of Kuling. With every shower, people are losing their fields, the main source of their livelihood, he added.

“The government must take immediate steps to prevent land cave-in because life of 68 families living in the village is at stake,” said Bhawan Singh, another villager.

The situation is equally grim at Wan village, which lost connectivity to the main road as two motor bridges from Lohajung onwards were swept away by raging waters of the rivulets. People were seen crossing a makeshift bridge with apprehensions. Some people were seen risking their lives in negotiating a steep and slippery pathway on a rock with the help of ropes.

“It is testing time for more than 400 families living in the village, especially for the sick and expecting mothers,” said Devendra Singh, a social worker of Wan. “People are worried as food grains, cooking gas, kerosene and other basic necessities would soon run out of stock.”

Members of Thrali Jagrook Manch staged a peaceful protest at Deval-Thrali Tiraha on Monday, demanding that the government take adequate measures to handle the situation in the affected villages, including Ratgaon. They handed over a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), which was addressed to the chief minister.

“Pregnant women and sick people are forced to walk miles to reach hospitals, or villagers are carrying them on makeshift stretchers; people tread cautiously on a dilapidated pathway to reach the main road,” said Sushil Rawat, a former Thrali block pramukh. “The protest will escalate if the governmental apathy continues.”

Thrali SDM Rohit Meena refused to give any update on the situation in the affected areas and asked this correspondent to contact the district disaster management officer, who did not receive repeated calls.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 22:57 IST