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Sopore next under threat as waters head north

Srinagar IS a low-lying area and all four of its major outflow outlets have been clogged by construction.

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi |
Updated: September 10, 2014 2:28:13 am

Following their course north, the Jhelum waters receding from Srinagar now pose their next threat to the low-lying district of Sopore, experts say.

“Wular Lake is a delta for the Jhelum. Sopore, which is close to Wular, is a low-lying district and can be flooded by its water, which will now make its way north,” said Saleem Beg, state convener for Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). “Baramulla and Uri are not expected to suffer much damage as they are on a higher plain,” Beg told The Indian Express.

Srinagar itself is low-lying and all four of its major outflow outlets have been clogged by construction. Beg said, “Nallahmar was an outflow for Dal, but the government constructed a road on top of it. Nallah Amir Khan too was filled later. Bemina used to be a marsh, a wetland; today it’s a fully inhabited colony. And Anchar Lake’s outflow too is blocked. The passage between Dal and Anchar lakes is not even a fourth of its original width.”

Beg cited increased horticultural activity on catchment areas as another factor that contributed to Srinagar’s flooding. “The slopes have faced a lot of deforestation as people started using the catchments for horticultue and agriculture. Excessive ploughing to sow the fruit crops leads to loosening of soil, which erodes its top layer and adds to flooding,” Beg said.

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According to Beg, a Rs 2,200-crore flood control plan adopted by the Omar Abdullah government in 2010 was to implement various measures including afforestation, dredging of Jhelum and agricultural issues, but was dropped after having been sent to the Centre for approval.

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