Reviewing flood protection

Greater Kashmir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 25 2018 12:17AM | Updated Date: Jun 25 2018 12:17AM

The present weather in Kashmir especially throughout the month of June has been exceptionally hot for this part of the year in comparison to earlier years. The MET Office has confirmed that the temperatures have been more than eight degrees Celsius above the usual temperature for this part of the year. This is supposed to be part of the Global Climate Change. Similar freak weather like extremely high temperatures and dust storms has been experienced in different parts of the country. Many other parts of the world are experiencing unusual weather. Additionally, the MET Office had warned that Kashmir may experience continuous rains from June till September. Even though the Director of the local office clarified that there was no need to panic, yet the experience of the disastrous flood of 2014 has made people very wary! The freak weather could again create a calamity. The worst misfortune of Kashmir is that the rulers just gone out of office hardly concentrated on the urgent flood protection measures. They virtually wasted these four years. This fact has been publicly stated by even one of the Chief Engineers responsible for looking after floods! A government of India panel in the wake of 2014 floods had thoroughly investigated the causes of the disastrous flood. They had pointed out the decrease in the carrying capacity of the River and its flood spill over channel over last few decades because of the absence of any dredging being carried out there. From 1986 till very recently no dredging was carried out in the outflow channel resulting into the drastic reduction in its carrying capacity from 17000 cusec to 3531 cusec. Similarly, no effective steps were taken to increase the flow velocity in the 96 kilometre Sangam-Wular mild slope stretch of river Jhelum. Last year the Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control publicly admitted that nothing substantial had been done regarding dredging of the River and the Flood Channel. Incidentally, it was the Governor who had initiated a number of measures for ensuring completion of flood prevention measures. He had engaged some Kolkata based firms for dredging. However, after the installation of the government, the project virtually went into cold storage. The dredgers broke down. No attempts were made for manual dredging which could have been done at least for the dry flood channel. Nothing was done to strengthen embankments, some of which collapsed. Now that we again have Governor’s rule, it would be worthwhile if a detailed review of these measures is taken and action is initiated on to complete all these urgently required measures on a war footing before we are struck with another disaster!

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