Dormant threat

Published at April 21, 2017 12:09 AM 0Comment(s)759views


Dormant threat

The damage caused by the floods in September 2014 was colossal, with some reports published then suggesting the estimated loss as having crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark. To rebuild Kashmir, particularly Srinagar city where flood waters destroyed almost everything that cam its way, a sizeable package or economic assistance was needed. But more than that was needed a comprehensive plan to prevent such disaster from happening in the future. Different propositions and suggestions were made as everyone was a victim who had to bear the losses one way or the other. But the onus was on the government to formulate a well thought out policy and take certain tough decisions instantly. The suggestions mostly banked upon the idea to restrict the volume of Jhelum and increase the holding capacity meanwhile rebuild the damaged bunds. The economic package was eventually sanctioned, in which although small but a percentage was earmarked for relief and rehabilitation. That left Jhelum and damaged bunds to be taken care of. Dredging of the river became essential and even the Governor in the interim period pushed for action. In the city, the dredging machine, watermaster, could be seen working on the basin at few spots, mostly removing the sand. The 2014-15 enthusiasm to rebuild the city to stand firm to floods like 2014 gradually died down. The comprehensive policy apparently has met the same fate as “the Master Plans” that were drowned by the 2014 floods. Today, the water level in Jhelum in a dry weather spell is quite high. Few days of rain can bring back the memories of the erstwhile disaster. There is nothing to stop the disaster as very little work has been done in that direction. As north and central India are witnessing dry weather conditions, Kashmir has its own problems to take care of. One of the reasons of the high water level in Jhelum is the increased temperature that is causing snow and probably glaciers to melt quickly. Recently, there were flood like conditions in Kashmir after incessant rains for few days. The lifesaver however was the cold weather conditions which prevented rapid increase in the volume of river due to slow melting process. Nevertheless, the threat posed by Jhelum and the deterioration of environment in Kashmir that goes unchecked due to bad governance are very much real. Now the question to be answered is whether the government is waiting for something to happen before coming out from the slumber or waiting to get drubbed like the previous one after it failed to protect the lives and property here.                                   

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