Survivors of 2005 Snowstorm, Waltengu Nar Still Awaiting Rehabilitation

SRINAGAR: Almost 17 years after the tragedy, the full rehabilitation of the Waltengo Nar is still a work in progress. On Saturday, when Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Dr Bilal Mohiuddin Bhat visited the area, 44 dwellings for the survivors were in different stages of implementation.

DC Kulgam, Dr Bilal Mohiuddin Bhat interacting with the survivors of the snowstorm victims at Waltngu Nar. The village was buried in a snowstorm in February 2005 and some of the families are still awaiting rehabilitation. Pic: Special arrangement

Waltengo Nar is a down south Gujjar locality in Kund belt of Kulgam which lost two-thirds of its population in twin snowstorms in late February 2005. More than 180 people were buried alive under a 100-meter high snow mountain. The village living over dangerous slopes and erased from the map was later sifted to Wasiq Nag.

DC Kulgam, Dr Bilal Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat who visited the village on its 17th anniversary, took stock of the physical status of hutments that are under the execution of the Rural Development Department (RDD). He was informed that 76 huts have been already completed and allotted among beneficiaries in the area and they are now residing in these huts.

“The DC today directed the concerned to complete work on more 44 sets which are at different stages of completion and will come up with an estimated cost of 2.49 crore to accommodate more families,” an official spokesman said in Srinagar. “The DC directed the concerned executing agency to restart work on these hutments and ensure their completion within a few months.”

The government, it may be recalled here, had initiated the process of funding the housing of 132 affected families at Wasiq Nag and Nawbug. Of the 116 initiated, only 74 have been completed.

However, Deputy Commissioner Kulgam Dr Bilal told Kashmir Life that the work that was halted for various reasons is being restarted and the 44 families who still have not got their dwellings will start living in their new home by the year-end.

“Initially, 128 families were listed but a survey later changed it to 120,” Dr Bilal said. “The work started in 2014 and in phase one 76 families were given their new homes,” the Deputy Commissioner said. “In phase two 44 homes were to be constructed but the availability of land was the issue and then it took its own time to get vertical housing units approved in the cabinet.”

Eventually, four blocks were to be constructed for 44 families. “Part of it has been done and part is to start soon,” DC said. “It will cost Rs 2.21 crore and it has all the administrative approvals.” Dr Bilal said the new flats will be given to the families by the 2022 year-end.

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