Massive dewatering operations in Srinagar

Massive dewatering operations in Srinagar

Massive dewatering operations have been launched in the flood-hit areas of Srinagar where some places still lay submerged under 10 feet water nearly two weeks after Jammu and Kashmir was ravaged by floods, as authorities on Monday stepped up efforts to restore normalcy in the Valley.

As fears grew over potential spread of water-borne diseases with flood-waters receding, the demand for filtered water has also increased. Twenty RO plants with a capacity to filter four lakh litres per day from Hyderabad and four RO plants from Delhi with a capacity to filter one lakh litre per day are being rushed to Srinagar, Defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.

Authorities said  the situation has improved vastly in the Jammu region. In many instances, people have left the camps and returned home. Some houses, though, are still submerged.

While the officials claimed that it was a positive development, people alleged that they were returning home as conditions at relief camps were very bad, and it was difficult to live there. In some places, the people had taken their cattle to relief camps too, making matters worse for the authorities as well as those sheltered there.

Zahiruddin, a senior journalist who has been trapped in Magharmal Bagh, asked: “Where will I go? It is better to be in the second floor of my house than going to a relief camp. We have been able to get some food, and are surviving on it.” In what would be a big relief to the people, and a sign of things very slowly limping back to normalcy, ATM kiosks and petrol pumps started functioning at some places. There were long queues in front of ATM kiosks to draw cash, as people had not been able to transact for nearly 12 days.

The scene was no different in front of petrol pumps, where people were rushing to buy and store the fuel. It was supplied from Manali via Leh road. Fuel tankers normally take about five days to reach Srinagar from Manali. However, the movement of vehicles on Srinagar roads was very thin, as many places were still waterlogged.

Roads leading to Srinagar airport are still under water. Officials also claimed that electricity had been restored in nearly 70 per cent of the localities. While Aircel and BSNL mobile services were near normal in Srinagar, internet connectivity was not easily available.  Defence engineers are trying to build a steel bridge to provide the vital Srinagar-Jammu link, as a portion of the road at Ramsu was washed away in the floods.

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