JK approaches Delhi for Jhelum restoration
Comprehensive River Conservation Project Sent For Approval
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Nov 30: In a bid to restore glory of the river Jhelum and prevent floods in the Valley, the state government has approached the centre for approval of a comprehensive project.
In absence of conservation measures by successive regimes, the Jhelum has been marred by extensive pollution, siltation and encroachment. The government has now woken up and initiated the river restoration process. A team of engineers of the Irrigation and Flood Control department led by its Chief Engineer, Mir Najeebullah, after a through survey, have formulated a comprehensive project for Jhelum conservation.
The Rs 2000 crore project, which includes flood management, has been sent to the Ministry of Water Resources for sanction. Officials said the project envisages many restoration works including improvement of existing dredging of outfall channels, protection and anti-erosion works and increasing hydraulic efficiency.
Blaming pollution and siltation for Jhelum’s deterioration, Mir Najeebullah told Greater Kashmir that the project’s objective was to improve the river’s carrying capacity.
“Due to siltation, encroachments and lesser waterways at bridge sites, the river’s carrying capacity has decreased up to 84.96 cumecs from 481.45 cumecs. The river can’t serve any purpose and has lost its importance to a great extent. The situation is becoming grim as not only Srinagar but whole Valley is having a flood threat in case of continuous rainfall mostly during summers,” he said.
To save the Srinagar from floods, he said the project proposes to divert the waters through new flood spill channels. “By implementation of the project, we want to prevent further damage to Jhelum. First we will stress to improve the lake’s hydraulics and then go for beautification. It is a comprehensive and long-term project. We are confident that the Ministry will approve it soon so that we can start the intervention,” he said.
Originating from Verinag in south Kashmir, Jhelum is joined by four streams, Sundran, Brang, Arapath and Lidder is Islamabad district. Besides small streams like Veshara and Rambiara also feed the river with fresh lease of waters. The pollution of the glacier-fed Lidder in the famous tourist spot Pahalgam is also affecting Jhelum.
In apple town Sopur, the problem has assumed horrendous dimensions as the river is being used as dumping site for municipal garbage and sewage. The heavy ingress of silt and waste has drastically raised the river’s bed and chocked the flood spill channels.
The Superintending Engineer of Irrigation and Flood Control, Muzaffar Ahmad Lanker, said the project has taken all these factors into consideration. “For the first time, we have digitalized all the data regarding intake and outtake water levels, flood gauge and river’s carrying capacity for the past 50 years. The data has helped us to form such plans which can help in long-term preservation and importantly proper utilization of Jhelum,” the SE said.
In 1997 the state Government, through the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, had prepared the feasibility report for Jhelum River Conservation Project under the National River Conservation Plan. It envisaged pollution abatement in towns- Islamabad, Srinagar, Sopur and Varmul. However despite approval by Government of India, the project never took off.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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