Srinagar: The J&K administration may rope in some foreign agencies, along with their own scientists and experts from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar, to understand the reasons behind the sinkhole in one of the snow-fed streams of Kokernag area in Anantnag district.
All this feedback and suggestions, according to officials, may prompt the government to go for mapping of underground cavern systems, not only in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, but also in other areas, and likely some foreign expert teams may be also enrolled to understand this phenomenon.
A senior officer of district administration in Anantnag told this newspaper that very soon, they will conduct with the help of experts cave diving and geophysical surveys as the district has dozens of springs and they can appear and disappear and even the waters of the streams can similarly disappear suddenly. It is in place to mention that in February during the current year, a sinkhole developed suddenly in the Bringi trout stream of Kokernag, making the river bed dry for many kilometers downstream.
Now, studies conducted by a team of experts from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar has said that the Bringi stream, after disappearing in the sinkhole, has reappeared some 16 kilometers downstream at Achabal health resort which is known Mughal Garden on Anantnag-Kokernag road in Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
The government in a recent high-level meeting has taken a serious note of the sinkhole in the Brengi stream and various teams have submitted their reports to the authorities about this phenomenon and have suggested possible remedies, including the mapping of underground cavern systems. Anantnag owes its name that means numerous streams and it has dozens of known and dozens of hilly streams in its outskirts and the government wants to get scientific feedback for the future if more streams developed such sinkholes in South Kashmir.
There was much concern and alarm among the locals living in the villages downstream the Brengi tributary which finally goes into the river Jhelum as their agricultural and other allied activities are dependent on the water of this stream. Thousands of trout fish, especially the fingerlings, died downstream of Brengi as the water has now started its discharge 16 km from those villages at Achabal health resort.
Though the government after examination of the sinkhole initially diverted the water from the sinkhole stretch, the stream again developed seepage, forcing the government to get the assistance from experts of NIT Srinagar. District officials of Anantnag said that the final report has not been concluded and the initial studies have confirmed that the phenomenon occurred due to underlying karst topography. Geology and mining officials, along with Fisheries Department officials of J&K administration, have already filled the sinkhole with naturally graded material and crates.
Scientists have already said that in South Kashmir, especially in the Anantnag district, there can be more such sinkholes in the snow-fed streams which include river Lidder of Pahalgam and Rambi Ara which comes from Mughal Road area of Shopian.