Panic gripped Mawar village of Handwara after the news broke out of toxic chemicals being mixed in a nearby nallah. Thousands of fishes have died in the nallah which is also the main drinking water source for many areas of Handwara.
MLA Er Rasheed alleged in a live Facebook video that the army personnel situated in the area are responsible for the mischief and will be punished as per the law. But added that no need to panic.
“I along with locals and administration met the concerned army personnel and they accepted chemicals were thrown into the water unintentionally. We have sent the water for lab testing and found phenyl in it. The cleaning process is underway and by evening the water will be fit for drinking”, Lawmaker Rashid said while talking to Kashmir Post over phone.
Earlier, the authorities in Mawer Langate had asked people not to use the water for drinking or washing purposes as some miscreants had poured insecticides into a Nallah (Lawoosa Kul) which soon spread over a kilometer in Mawer Langate, contaminating the Nallah Mawer also.
Handwara Police have officially instructed the public not to consume water from Nallah Mawar till it is cleaned. They have also requested people not to consume water from Lift Pumps Sherhama/Pohrupet/Panditpura.
SDPO Handwara told Kashmir Post, “We have registered an FIR regarding this issue and the investigation is going on. Meanwhile we have advised people not to use tap water as a precautionary measure. We have collaborated with the PHE department and the local administration to supply drinking water through PHE tankers.”
Panic struck the village when hundreds of aquatic species including fish were seen dying on the banks of Mawar Nallah on Friday morning.
“Everybody is in panic here, we haven’t eaten anything since morning,” said Waheed, a local from Mawar.
Deputy Commisioner Kupwara Khalid Jehangir, said “We have collected the samples of the water, the investigation is going on, we have provided people with alternate sources for water just as a precautionary measure, the water is safe but it’s better to be cautious. I appeal people not to pay heed to rumors and advise them to cooperate with us.”
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan while commenting on the issue said that a team of officials has been sent to Mawar to investigate the matter.
FIR no 6/2018 US 428 RPC has been lodged at PS Qalamabad and investigation is underway.