A year and a half after the devastating floods marooned Kashmir, the government has finally started dredging of river Jehlum to prevent floods in future. J&K government has awarded Rs 399 crore dredging project to a Kolkata based company which made the lowest bid.
“The work on the project would start soon. The (dredging) project would help to increase the carrying capacity of Jehlum and its flood spill channel,” Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Javed Jaffer told The Indian Express. “It is a Rs 399 crore project. Out of 399 crores, 140 cores have been set for land acquisition for the existing flood channel, Rs 40 crore for building two bridges while the rest of the project cost would be spent on dredging and related works”.
The project named ‘Comprehensive flood management programme’ is undertaken by Kolkata based ‘Reach Dredging Limited’.
The project is commissioned with the assistance from the centre. “The project would be funded by centre on 70:30 basis. The central government would provide 70 percent funding while state government would chip in with 30 percent,” Jaffer said.
The officials say that while the dredging of river from Srinagar to Wular Lake would be completed within a year, the de-siltation of the flood channel from Srinagar to Panzinara village in north Kashmir would take close to two years.
Once completed, the dredging would increase the carrying capacity of river Jehlum and its flood spill channel by 10000 cusecs. “At present, the carrying capacity of Jehlum is around 27000 cusecs while that of the flood channel, is around 8000 cusecs,” said Chief Engineer Jaffer. “After the dredging and de-siltation is completed, the total capacity of the river and spill channel would increase to 45000 cusecs”.
The ‘Reach Dredging Limited’ has to extract 16 lakh cubic meters of silt from Jehlum and its spill channel while the department says that it has already dredged-out five lakh cubic meters of soil.
“The soil extracted from the river bed and that of spill channel would be sold by the dredging company,” said Jaffer. “In return, they would have to pay rupees 12 crores to the department”.
Even when the dredging process would be completed, it wouldn’t rule out flooding of Srinagar city in case of heavy rains lasting for several days. For the proper flood management, the department has already submitted a proposal of Rs 2000 crores to centre to create an alternate flood spill channel from south Kashmir to Wular lake in north Kashmir – bypassing the Srinagar city.