Jammu & Kashmir: One House Collapses, Several Develop Cracks In J&K’s Doda, Villagers Fear Another Joshimath In Making

A team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) is studying Doda’s affected Thathri village and the cause of the cracks can only be ascertained after the GSI submits its report, say officials. However, villagers say the road-construction in the area below their village is responsible for the calamity in their village.

Thathri village in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district

Weeks after cracks began developing across Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, the Thathri village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district has also developed cracks and villagers fear that another Joshimath is in the making around them. 

The Thathri village is situated on a slope and panicked residents of the Nayi Basti area of the village —which is affected by cracks— say it’s becoming uninhabitable. They have started moving to safer locations. They have also requested the J&K administration for alternative land allotment. 

A local teacher told reporters that his three-storey house developed cracks and all the residents fled in panic.  

“We need alternative land allotment at some safer place. I don’t think anyone among us can go back to the village,” said the teacher. 

A total of 21 buildings have developed cracks in Thathri and one of them collapsed, according to a media report on Saturday. Visuals of the house collapsing completely have surfaced on the internet. 

First reported in December 

The first information about a house developing cracks in Doda’s Thathri was received in December, according to officials. They said three more houses started developing cracks earlier this week and around 20 houses were impacted by Thursday. 

Government officials say the village is in a danger zone now and all residents have moved out of the village. 

“This kind of mass sinking has been seen for the first time in the region,” said a senior official. 

Geological survey being conducted

Officials said they are monitoring the situation and the Geological Survey of India’s (GSI) team is examining the area. Officials added they will be able to comment on the reasons for the sinking after receiving GSI’s report.

There were 100 families living in the village and most of them have now shifted to safer locations. The J&K administration has constructed makeshift tin sheds for villagers but the villagers say they need alternative land to live in.

Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad tweeted, “Sinking of land at Thathri in Doda district is a grave issue affecting dozens of families and their properties. I urge LG Manoj Sinha ji to relocate the families and provide them adequate compensation. The issue needs immediate attention on your part.”

While the officials say the exact cause of subsidence would be known only after the experts of the GSI present their report, locals were seen blaming road construction beneath the village. Villager Altaf Ahmad Bhat said it should be investigated who allowed the construction of the road beneath the village. 

However, SDM Thathri Athar Amin Zargar told Outlook that the road-cutting in the area took place in June and is unlikely to have caused subsidence. He says it looks like the village was already in the slide-zone. He says if subsidence spreads towards the right or left side of the area, then it will engulf many more structures.