A popular trout angling stream has suddenly disappeared in Kashmir after it was swallowed by a massive sinkhole. Experts say it has caused immeasurable damage to aquatic life, including to trout fish.
The administration has enforced restrictions under section 144 and asked people not to venture near the sinkhole as nobody knows the outlet of the sinkhole and people are worried that it may cause a collapse of land due to denudations and threaten life and property in the area.
After the sudden death of a freshwater stream, around a 20 km long stretch of a famous trout stream in the Anantnag district has dried up. Locals fear for their safety as it appears the entire stream has been swallowed by the sinkhole. Efforts by the administration to divert water have not succeeded.
"The river has disappeared. The government should do something. We are worried about drinking water and irrigation. Even our land can collapse. What's the guarantee our village is safe?" said Bashir Ahmad, a local.
A large number of fish including trout have perished in the dying stream. Officials, however, say they saved as many trout as they could and shifted them to other water bodies.
"Some fish were in the pool beneath the downstream. We shifted them to safer destinations. These things are beyond one's control. Whatever measures and steps we were supposed to take, we took them swiftly," said Mohammad Sidique Wani, Deputy Director, Department of Fisheries.
The sinkhole is believed to have been caused by the chemical dissolution of limestone rocks in the river. The administration has appealed to people not to come close to it.
"People are requested to follow the advisory by the administration. Don't go close to the sinkhole. We will take gutter steps based on a scientific way," said Piyush Singla, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag.
Luckily, the stream does not have much water currently as snow is not melting easily in these temperatures. But people are worried water levels will rise exponentially next month.
For locals, it's a mystery and some call it the wrath of nature as the freshwater stream running in the middle of mountains has literally disappeared. They are confused about where the water, draining into a sinkhole, is going. And, it may cause some disaster if the sinkhole is not fixed and Breng nullah (stream) is restored to its original course.