Land sinking in Ramban: In a community hall, homeless families of Pernote village share tales of horror, grief


Amir Tantray

Ramban, Apr 30 : A man puts his entire savings of life to built a house which for the person and his family becomes a dream house, even if it consists of only one room, but these dreams have been shattered here in the community hall at Maitra area of Ramban district where dozens of families from Pernote village are living a life in ‘exile’.

Though the exile is not man made or forced by any cruel power on the earth but natural as their entire village is diminishing from the earth due to continuous sinking.

From rich to poor, from old to young, women to men, everybody is staying in this community hall with no hope of returning to their homes, which have got damaged completely or partially due to the unprecedented sinking of land. The administration and locals are still surprised and clueless as to what has happened to the area which was home to 74 families with over 500 souls.

Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Shamasdin Katoch, a victim whose two three-storey houses, said, “The biggest pain for me in this incident is that my family has lost our dream house and we have nowhere to go. I keep visiting the area and keep looking towards my two houses and fields where one can’t even enter as the area is still sinking.”

“We have only two demands at this point of time. One is compensation for the damage caused to homes and land and the other is land at a safer place where people can build their new homes,” Katoch added.

On April 25, cracks started developing in their houses and when people observed these cracks, they had no other option but to flee from the area by putting their belongings, some immovable and few movable, behind and saving their lives. The local administration came to their rescue and moved them to a safe place down at Maitra community hall on a temporary basis and the stay was increasing with no hope of the area getting back to its original shape. They didn’t have an iota of idea of magnanimity of the crisis developing which forced them to move out permanently from their homes and get settled at some other place where they will have to rebuild their dreams.

But this is not going to be easy for them at all as the rebuilding phase may take years and they have to look for temporary shelters before thinking of something big.

At present district administration is providing food, accommodation and other things required and there is no dearth of anything. But the biggest issue is that people have become homeless.

Another victim, Mohan Lal Bhagat, told KNO, “Those who have families can understand our pain and they can feel it as well. I can’t express in words what we are facing. Though the administration is providing all the help, losing home is not easy.”—(KNO)


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