'J&K govt ignored flood warnings'

Jammu and Kashmir government had been alerted by the State’s Flood Control Ministry in 2010 that a major flood could hit the state in next five years, but it did little to bridge the gaps in infrastructure.

Sources told Deccan Herald that both state as well as central governments sat over the flood warnings for years together.

“While the state government failed to actively pursue with the centre a proposal to put in place requisite infrastructure in view of the flood warnings, the latter reportedly raised queries after queries that ultimately led to delay in its execution,” they said.
Pertinently in 2010, the State’s Flood Control Ministry had warned that most parts of Kashmir from south Kashmir’s Anantnag to north Kashmir’s Baramulla are likely to be hit by floods in five years.

“The Srinagar-Jammu highway may be washed away, leaving the Valley cut-off from rest of the world,” the assessment report read, adding, “The Indira Gandhi Road leading to Srinagar Airport will also be submerged, cutting the aerial access to the Valley.”
But all these aspects were totally ignored and the recent fury caught the state government unprepared to deal with such a huge magnitude of disaster.

Sources said though the state government had formulated Rs 2,200 crore project to put the required infrastructure in place in anticipation of the devastating floods, it didn’t take up with the Centre the proposal in an active manner.

A senior bureaucrat told Deccan Herald that a group of state ministers who recently called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi have taken up the issue with him.

Fresh proposal

“They (state ministers) appealed Modi to send a team of hydraulic engineers to Srinagar to prepare a fresh proposal so that the state isn’t faced with a similar situation in future,” he said.

Pertinently, Srinagar city has faced major deluge in 1902 when major portions of the city have reportedly remained submerged for two years, leading to water-borne diseases.
The then ruler of the state is understood to have sought help of the then British government which dispatched a team of engineers to Srinagar to save the state from further losses.

The British team started dredging of river Jhelum from the mouth of Wullar, Asia’s largest freshwater lake, to Khadanyar in Baramulla. Besides, a 42-km flood channel was also constructed from Padshahi Bagh (Srinagar) to Wullar and several wetlands were covered in it.

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