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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A tale of two cities: Kashmir, 2014- No report, no funds, no concrete plans

Among the other measures the government has been considering are constructing mini-dams on the tributaries of Jhelum.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Updated: December 6, 2015 12:18:49 am
mumbai flood, chennai flood, flood, natural calamity, flood, urbanisation, encrochament, Adyar river, Chembarambakkam reservoir, mithi, india news, nation news, indian express Children along with their family members wading through waist-deep water in Chennai after heavy downpour on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

More than a year after the flood that marooned Srinagar and some parts of Kashmir Valley, there is no report yet fixing responsibility or listing the causes, no funds still to plan flood prevention, and no feasibility report to implement projects even if the money does come through.

The floods had killed more than 300 people across the state and damaged at least 2.5 lakh structures.

With no solutions in sight anytime soon, the Valley may be looking at more catastrophes, with a 20 per cent increase in intensity of downpour expected in the coming years.

While the Irrigation & Flood Control Department says it has submitted a report to the government blaming heavy and unexpected discharge of water as the main reason for the September 2014 floods, this has not been made public. The Meteorological Department attributed the heavy rains to “the interaction of western disturbances and monsoon currents”.

“The discharge was three times that of the capacity of Jhelum. That resulted in breaches in river embankments,” said Chief Engineer, I&FC, Javed Jaffer.

Recently, the pre-feasibility report submitted by the state government to the Centre, for Rs 18,000 crore to create an alternative flood spill channel from south Kashmir in Sangrama to Wular lake, bypassing Srinagar city, was returned by the Centre which wanted a more detailed report. Jaffer admits it would take them almost a year to submit the report again.

Among the other measures the government has been considering are constructing mini-dams on the tributaries of Jhelum.

But the only practical step taken in the past year has been de-silting of the flood spill channel, and only at the dry spots. Jaffer says they will start deep-water dredging soon. With Rs 400 crore sanctioned under the recent PM’s package, work would now be done through the year, he says.

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