Three Years Since Cloudburst in J&K’s Thathri, No Footbridge Yet

In 2017, the cloudburst, which took six lives, damaged the school building and a number of other houses.

Updated28 Jul 2020, 05:49 PM IST
My Report
3 min read

Three years ago on the intervening night of 20 and 21 July 2017, a horrific incident occurred in Thathri, a tehsil near Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. That night stills haunts Main Bazaar’s locals. It was around 2 am when a cloud burst in the upper reaches of Thathri. It sounded like an earthquake in the beginning. The residents of the town started running out of houses.

Some people were shouting “Flood aaya hai, bazaar sab khatam hogaya (There’s a flood, the area is destroyed)”, “Bhaago! Bahar niklo (Run, get out)” and “Kishtwar Pull gir gaya (Kishtwar bridge has fallen).”

Many more rumours were spread across town, no one knew what exactly happened. Everyone was in fear.

Flood site in 2020, the buildings have been restored.
Flood site in 2020, the buildings have been restored.
(Photo Credits: Anzer Ayoob)

While some lifted the Quran and ran away, gathering to the side of the national highway, others started counting ‘Tasbīḥ’ repeatedly. It was only later when people got the information from others who had actually been at the site of the incident.

Six Lives Lost, Bridges Washed Away

There was a flood in Tipri Nallah (stream) near National Academy School in Thathri due to a cloudburst. Six lives were lost and several homes and school buildings were damaged.

Picture from the spot in 2017 and 2020.
Picture from the spot in 2017 and 2020.
(Photo Credits: Anzer Ayoob)

Since then, the flood-hit victims have demanded the construction of footbridges so that no new tragedy happens again. The floods washed away bridges and footpaths in the area which have not been restored completely till today.

A local told me:

“In 2009, when Congress MLA GM Saroori was in power, there was a resolution made and the area was marked for a new path to be constructed. But since then, we haven’t got any bridge. Then when the floods happened in 2017, it got a lot of media attention. However, we still have to walk through the dirty and risky path.”
Signatories requesting for the footbridge.
Signatories requesting for the footbridge.
(Photo Courtesy: Anzer Ayoob)

In the coming months, the stream was repaired, and bordering walls were built but due to delayed construction of the footbridge people have to step into the stream for crossing it. A number of resolutions and requests have been presented to the administration to date, yet no footbridge has been constructed at the spot. On 21 March 2020, Municipal Committee officials of Thathri started clearing the debris dumped in the stream which was causing a blockage.

Talking to me on the day, Municipal Chairman Mansoor Ahmed said that they have started the work and footbridge will be constructed soon. Locals, however, are left wondering when that “soon” will come to fruition.

Letter by MLC Naresh.
Letter by MLC Naresh.
(Photo Credits: Anzer Ayoob)

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed SDM of Thathri, Athar Amir Zargar, told me:

“I got to know about the issue when you brought it to my knowledge. I will see what the status is. I haven’t seen the footbridge at the spot myself, but the work shall be done soon.”

A flood-hit victim Mohd Saleem told me:

“We are facing many difficulties after flash floods damaged our houses, footpaths and bridges. We requested the authorities to reconstruct the bridge many times as school children face difficulties, but nobody has taken any cognisance.”

The residents urged the district administration as well as the Lieutenant Governor to look into the matter.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Published: 28 Jul 2020, 12:43 PM IST
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!