Srinagar continues to be vulnerable to floods, courtesy flawed mitigation measures

According to experts, nothing has been done beyond setting up some control rooms to monitor the situation, sound alerts and announce advisories in case water level touches danger mark in the Jhelum.

MUDASIR YAQOOB
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 12 2019 11:47PM | Updated Date: Jan 12 2019 11:47PM
Srinagar continues to be vulnerable to floods, courtesy flawed mitigation measuresFile Photo

Government may claim to have spent crores of rupees on flood mitigation measures, the position on the ground is not encouraging.

According to experts, nothing has been done beyond setting up some control rooms to monitor the situation, sound alerts and announce advisories in case water level touches danger mark in the Jhelum.

“Flood mitigation plan is being executed in bits and pieces, leaving the project of no use as of now,” they said.

ENDLESS ENCROACHMENTS

Experts said the encroachment on river embankments which is a major cause for bund breaches during flood situations, are still there. “The directions of the High Court to remove all these encroachments have not been complied in letter and spirit,” they said.

DEFECTIVE DREDGING

The dredging in Srinagar, experts said, was a futile exercise as it was not carried on “scientific lines”.

“They dredging project has not helped to address the problem of floods in any way, and Kashmir stands at same stage where it had been post-2014 devastating floods,” they said.

According to experts, the authorities must concentrate on dredging of the Jhelum downstream to regulate the quick flow of water of the Jhelum in Srinagar.

“All efforts under flood mitigation measures are aimed to increase the water carrying capacity of the Jhelum. But the fact remains that just 72-hour rainfall is enough to swell the Jhelum to the level of flood alert,” experts said.

“The existing FSC designed for a discharge of about 16000 cusecs is full of loopholes because of the non-coordination between different government agencies,” experts said.

WORK AT HALT

According to sources, the people living in the vicinity of Hokersar wetland have allegedly brought the work to halt on the flood spill channel, resulting in the loss of precious months for dredging.

“Residents of Hajibagh area near Hokarsar are demanding construction of bund in the area in violation of the Supreme Court orders. They have allegedly taken control of machinery in the area and want execution of project as per their whims,” sources said.

Experts said the deadlock needs to be ended without any further delay so as not to lose any further time for dredging and de-siltation.

The channel has bridges at few places, which can prove disastrous as and when the water level increases in the Jhelum as they will minimize the discharge speed, the fact admitted by officials as well.

Three footbridges have been constructed from Bemina to Hajibagh stretch.

The present capacity of the flood spill channel to carry water is around 4,000 cusecs in Srinagar and it progressively decreases on way to northern Kashmir. The restoration is aimed to increase its water carrying capacity up to 30,000 cusecs through various phases.

AD HOC APPROACH

At Hamdania Colony, Bemina, authorities have increased the capacity of channel after dredging out thousands of cubic meters of silt, sources said. However, the recently constructed retaining walls at several spots have major gaps due to presence of PDD poles and a transformer through which water can enter the locality.

In case of the rise in the water level, the floods will have easy access to “our locality through these gaps. The authorities are waiting for PDD to shift these electric poles and transformer to other side so that they can fill up these gaps as well,” said a local from the area.

As per experts, these impediments can prove entire exercise pointless, if not removed.

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