‘Dredging process photoshoot for successive governments’
Srinagar, April 6: Heavy rains lashed Jammu and Kashmir, including the summer capital Srinagar, for the third consecutive day on Thursday, triggering flood threat across the Valley. The Meteorological department however has predicted an improvement in weather from Friday.
MeT Director Sonam Lotus said that there will be an improvement in weather from Friday. Lotus said there has been a dip in temperatures across Jammu and Kashmir while plains and higher reaches in Kashmir received moderate to heavy snowfall. The water level in Jhelum and other rivulets and streams in Kashmir Valley has risen overnight. The incessant rains, which threw life out of gear across Kashmir on Thursday, also triggered a flood alert in North, Central and South Kashmir areas.
Authorities asked people living around Jhelum and low-lying areas of south and central Kashmir to remain vigilant in view of rising water levels in the river.
“Due to continuous rains since morning of 5th April, the gauge at Sangam has touched the alert level of 18 ft. As such, it is requested that people residing along embankments of river Jhelum and in low-lying areas of south and central Kashmir remain vigilant,” said an official communication. “We have asked the people living around Jhelum to remain alert and careful as water levels will rise further,” said Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood control Mohammad Hanief.
“We have issued flood alert for Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam districts,” Chief Engineer, Flood Control Department, told CNS.
He said the water level at Sangam is above 20 feet and “once it cross the 23-feet mark, flood alert is declared.”
“There has been a rise in water levels in Lidder, Toungri and Vaishav nallahs,” he said, adding the situation is being monitored closely.
He said the situation in Srinagar is also being monitored while water level at Ram Munshi Bagh is at still 18 feet. “It is two notches below the danger mark,” he said, adding situation is being keenly monitored.
Many areas in Srinagar were inundated due to heavy rains, disrupting normal life across the summer capital. These included Karan Nagar, Safa Kadal, Eidgah, Nowshehra, Soura, Ali Jan Road, Gulshan Nagar, Gogji Bagh, Wazir Bagh, Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh, Shutra Shahi and Bemina.
Several important roads, lanes and by-lanes in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk were also submerged due to water-logging, thus making the movement of pedestrians difficult.
People alleged the district administration has failed to tackle the situation emerging due to continuous rains. At several places, commuters find it difficult cross the roads due to heavy waterlogging. At Jahangir Chowk, some vehicles got trapped in water for hours. Srinagar Municipal Corporation employees led by Commissioner Dr Shafat visited several areas of Srinagar city to assess the situation while dewatering pumps were used at several places including Jahangir Chowk and Regal Chowk.
A civil society member said that dredging has always remained a photoshoot for successive governments. “If dredging would be done in a proper way, there will be no flood threat in Kashmir,” he said adding that dredging only benefits sand mafia.
Reports said that a two-storey residential house was completely damaged after it was hit by a walnut tree at Batpora Drung village of Khag tehsil in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Thursday afternoon.
Naib Tehsildar Khag Muhammad Ismaiel Ganie said that a walnut tree fell over the residential house of Nazir Ahmad Para, damaging it completely. “All the inmates are safe,” Ganie added. Meanwhile, a residential house was hit by a landslide in Bhat Mohalla area of Dreygam in Khansahab area.
Reports from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district said that scores of villages were inundated while at many places people staged massive protests against the authorities. Eyewitnesses told CNS that Minister for Horticulture Basharat Bukhari was heading towards Haigam along with Deputy Commissioner and SSP when agitated people cornered them near Iqbal Colony Pattan. Amid anti-government slogans, the protesters alleged that despite repeated pleas from past several years government did not bother to seal the bund in the area. There was a breach in the bund resulting in the inundation of many areas. The Minister assured them that repair work will be started shortly after the improvement in weather. Reports said that protest against Gund Khawaja Qasim also erupted against the Irrigation and Flood Control Department. At least 19 families were shifted to Government Higher Secondary School Pattan from Iqbal Colony where a mosque was also damaged due to land sliding. Several villages of Pattan town including Trikolbal, Hamray, Renji and Haigam are under water. The Hanjiveera-Magam road has been closed for traffic following overflow of water in a nearby stream. According to reports, the water level in some of the streams like Ferozpora, Nallah Ningli and Puhroo nallah is at its maximum and if rains continue “it can pose a threat to the life and property in the area,” officials said.
Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS that the diversion, created after 2014 floods, connecting Asthal village to other parts of Kulgam district was washed away by raging waters of Nallah Vaishaw. Reports said that Asthal village has got converted into an Island and has been completely cut off. Dozens of stranded families were waiting for government help till the filing of this report. Meanwhile, the Yaroo village in Khuri Batpora area of the district has also been inundated. Deputy Commissioner Kulgam advised people to move to safer places.
In Anantnag, two passengers went missing after a cab plunged into a river in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The cab was heading to Larnoo from main Kokernag when it plunged into Brengi Nallah near Dandipora village. An official said that six passengers were rescued but five others went missing. The reports suggested that three more missing passengers were rescued by police.
Reports from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said that heavy rainfall once again washed away temporary diversion at Chandrigam nallah on Tral-Awantipora road. Reports added that due to washing away of the temporary diversion, traffic in the area has been diverted via Amlar. “People are advised not to move towards Chandrigam nallah and asked to divert vehicles towards Amlar or Nowdal”, an official said.
Due to incessant rainfall, a residential house of Muhammad Qasim Gojjar collapsed in Lalpora village of Tral sub-division “but no damage of life has been reported”. Reports said that four water supply schemes with Romehoo Nallah as their source have been disrupted due to massive rainfall. Rohmoo diverson, Arabal diversion and Chatterpora diversion have reportedly been washed away. An official from District Pulwama said that many bridges including Triczal Bridge and Hawal-Rajpora Bridge were washed away. Moreover, landslides blocked Payer road, much to the discomfort of the people.
Heavy rainfall resulted in closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway for most part of the day, officials of Traffic department said here.
An official told CNS that landslides and shooting stones resulted in long traffic jams on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
He advised people to confirm the status of the highway on Friday before proceeding towards Jammu or Srinagar.
Meanwhile, an official spokesman said the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is personally monitoring the situation that has arisen due to incessant rain in the State. “The Chief Minister has put the State Administration on high alert, directing them to be at the beck and call of the people wherever required,” he said.
Chief Minister has directed the Divisional Commissioners to place senior officers on duty for monitoring the situation and initiate all necessary measures to safeguard the people. She directed them to keep control rooms operational round-the-clock so that there is close contact between the people and the concerned officers.
“Mehbooba Mufti received brief from the administration about the situation in Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla, Srinagar and other areas where water level has increased. She also received brief about the rescue and relief operations put in place by the administration to meet the challenges. She said that rescue operations on war-footing should be carried out wherever need arises. (CNS)