Fear haunts villagers in rain-battered Uttarakhand

For nearly 45 families hit by heavy landslides in Quirijimia village of Uttarakhand`s Pithoragarh district, the nightmare continues as cracks have started appearing in the area forcing them to take shelter in nearby villages.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2010, 13:02 PM IST

Dehra Dun: For nearly 45 families hit by heavy landslides in Quirijimia village of Uttarakhand`s Pithoragarh district, the nightmare continues as cracks have started appearing in the area forcing them to take shelter in nearby villages.

Nearly 150 people have migrated to safer areas amid fears that the village is sinking. These people are now forced to sleep in the nearby villages in makeshift tents.

According to an assessment made by the state government, there are nearly 100 to 200 villages which are unsafe for living in the state, state Planning Minister Prakash Pant said.

"In most of these villages, the fear factor is very high," said Pant.

The government would make a survey by geologists and other scientists to find out whether these villages are still fit for living, he said.

Deep cracks have also developed in Khaitoli and Dumlot villages in Kotdwara, Gram Pradhan Pushpa Devi said.

Many villages in the areas have left their houses and have taken shelter in a school building. As cracks have appeared in the fields also, villagers are also scared of
working in the fields.

The torrential rains, the worst in several decades, have battered Uttarakhand leaving a trail of death and destruction.

Besides 196 people killed in the flood fury, there were thousands others who are affected badly.

Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who has been touring the state to assess the damage caused, says that it would take another 2 to 3 years to rebuild the damaged areas.

The state is seeking a package of Rs 21,000 crore from the Centre, Nishank said.

According to a rough estimate, hundreds of villages have been affected by the rains. In some parts like Haridwar, the affected people have taken to streets to protest against
the delay in relief works.

"Immediately after the devastation, our men and machinery worked round-the-clock and we managed to save the lives of at least 32,000 people including foreign trekkers from France and Brazil," Nishank told a news agency.

With roads and highways still blocked due to landslides, scarcity of food grains and other essential commodities like petrol and diesel have also hit several parts
of Uttarkashi.

The state government is taking the help of Army helicopters to provide food packets to the affected villages.

PTI