A little hamlet in the picturesque Lahaul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh, perched at 10,800 feet along a Chenab stream, is facing an epic struggle for life as it is jeopardised by field fissures and house cracks.
Most of Lindur’s 90 residents are not just spending sleepless nights, they are sleeping outside as their houses no longer seem safe. “It’s scary. We all are living in constant fear of being buried alive if our houses collapse,” said Hira Lal Rashpa, 78. Most of the village’s 12 houses are two-storied; some are higher.
Although Rashpa confessed to not having “seen or heard anything like this before”, Lindur’s concerns revived memories of Joshimath in neighbouring Uttarakhand, where subsidence earlier this year caused panic and prompted evacuations.
In Lindur, fissures have also opened up on its 200-odd bighas of agricultural land and pastures, threatening livelihoods. “The cracks were first noticed in May and became prominent afterwards. The way they seem to be spreading, I fear there won’t be any village left in two years,” said Rashpa.
Concerns over Jahlama Nullah, a fierce tributary, are intensifying, with many attributing the sinking to linked irrigation channels. The location is in a seismically active zone, which does not help.
As for Lindur, irrigation has lost its meaning. “The cracks have left the fields uneven. It’s not possible to irrigate them using channels. We have demanded sprinklers,” said Prem Lal. The Jahlama slaloms through a dozen hamlets before merging with the Chenab downstream. It’s flooded every summer and monsoon due to glacial melt.