Mehbooba directs early completion of protection works on Jhelum, revival of water transport
Srinagar, May 26: The Cabinet subcommittee to monitor the dredging and completion of Comprehensive Flood Management works on the river Jhelum held its first meeting here today. Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who also heads the subcommittee, chaired the meeting.
The subcommittee reviewed the status of works of Phase-I of the Comprehensive Flood Management Plan costing around Rs. 400 crore. It also reviewed the status of preparation of DPRs for the Rs. 1684 crore Phase-II.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh; Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Shyam Choudhary; Minister for Education, Syed Altaf Bukhari, who are the members of the committee, attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister underscored the need for urgent and early completion of the flood protection works on the river in view of the coming rainy season.
The Chief Minister directed simultaneous running of both the phases of the plan to ensure early flood protection to the people living in the catchment of the river. She directed immediate induction of two cutter suction dredges for which an amount of Rs. 26 crore has already been sanctioned.
The Chief Minister asked Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control and Minister for Education, who also represents the Lal Chowk constituency in the Assembly, to jointly have periodic inspections of the dredging spots on the river and ensure establishment of convergent working atmosphere on the ground between project executing agencies and the people.
The Chief Minister directed intensifying dredging of the river at Srinagar and Baramulla and starting earth cutting a Bemina and Naidkhai to give the water a push to move downwards. She also directed introduction of a daily measurement system for silt discharge and submission of a report in this regard to the concerned authorities. She also directed making available sufficient number of geo bags with the concerned Departments for use in case of emergencies.
The meeting was informed that ever since the visit of the Chief Minister on February 02 this year, desilting and dredging on the river has picked up pace considerably. While 3300 vulnerable spots on the river have been plugged under SDRF, an area of 1300 kanals of land has been retrieved from the illegal occupation and 40 thousand trees, planted illegally which were disrupting the smooth flow of water, have also been cut since then, the meeting was told. The meeting was also informed that by the end of next month the mathematical report of the DPRs for Phase-II are expected.
Mehbooba Mufti emphasized the need to introduce water transport in river Jhelum and directed factoring in of the same in the restoration works for the river. She said it would not only give a push to tourist activities but also revive the century old tradition back in the Kashmir Valley.
The Chief Minister was informed that a central team from Inland Waterways Authority of India headed by its Chief Engineer has already conducted a pre feasibility survey in this regard which is in advanced stage.
Addressing the meeting, the Deputy Chief Minister stressed on greater inter Departmental synergy while moving ahead on the ambitious project. He directed the officers of concerned Departments to work with zeal and get the project completed in time so that the people living on the two banks of the river are saved of recurrent flood threats.
Chief Secretary, B. B. Vyas; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Rohit Kansal; Secretary, PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Saurabh Baghat were also present in the meeting.
The cabinet sub-committee, it may be recalled, was constituted last month to fast-track dredging and de-silting in river Jhelum and also oversee the completion of the Comprehensive Flood Management works on the river in a time bound manner