2014 like deluge can grip Kashmir anytime again, say officials

wilayattimes (Jammu and Kashmir)

Srinagar | WTNS | September 13: Even after elapsing six years since the 2014 deluge hit Kashmir Valley in the month of September, the government has failed to complete the requisite process to prevent such a catastrophe in the future.

As per the sources, the second phase of the much-hyped dredging process has also not been started yet, thus putting the lives and properties of people here at risk again.

It is pertinent to mention here that, as per the reports at least 280 people were killed in the 2014 floods across the state, and property worth crores was also damaged.

Sources in the Irrigation and flood Control (I&FC) department told the KNO that the dredging process that was started nearly a year after 2014 floods has not been completed yet as the second phase of the process is yet to be initiated.

They said that it was planned that the dredging and de-silting of River Jhelum will be completed by March 2019. However, he said that the second and the main phase of the process has not been started, which would increase the capacity of the river Jhelum.

As per the official details available, the second phase of the process is expected to improve the Jhelum’s water carrying capacity “to its maximum capacity of 60,000 cusecs [cubic feet per second] in South Kashmir”.

In Srinagar, this capacity is to be increased to 35,000 cusecs. The remaining 25,000 cusecs is to be diverted through the flood spill channel, whose discharge capacity is also proposed to be increased, the figure revealed.

Talking to KNO, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC), Iftikhar Kakroo said that the second phase of the dredging was not started yet. “The phase-II of the process will be started in this year only,” he said.

Asked whether the department is ready to prevent the 2014 like deluge in future, he said the department is ready to tackle middle level deluge, but was not yet capable to tackle the 2014 like situation.

“We are trying to reach there in stages. At present, the department is not ready to accommodate that level of flood. But, we are gradually moving towards that,” he said. “It will take more time to reach to stage where we can accommodate 2014 like flood,” he said.

Earlier, in January 2018, reports quoting the officials had said that the dredg­ing process in river Jhelum started as flood preventive measure will be completed under the deadline set by the state government.

The Rs-280 crore project for phase-I was awarded to Kolkata based company to clear the excessive siltation that had accumulated and drastically reduced the carrying-capacity of river Jhelum.

Reach Dredging Private Limited, the Kolkata-based firm had also assured that the pending work will be completed under the dead­line set by the then state government.

However, later in 2018, the department of Irrigation and Flood Control (I& FC) had asked the Kolkata based dredging firm to wind up operations here after it failed to the meet the 31st March deadline