Dredging the Tortoise Way!

Greater Kashmir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 19 2018 11:32PM | Updated Date: Aug 19 2018 11:32PM

Recently, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department team led by the Secretary had a field visit on the flood channel to see the dredging being undertaken there to increase its carrying capacity. He ordered that the job be completed by March, 2019. Unfortunately, the way the things have been moving, it may take few years and not some months to complete the job! The capacity of the River and the flood channel has been so much reduced that even a short spell of rain of couple of days creates a flood like situation. Nothing tangible has been done by the concerned departments during these four years. Rather both the River and the spill over channel have got more silted and further reduced in capacity because of encroachments on the embankments. A government of India panel in the wake of 2014 floods had thoroughly investigated the causes of the disastrous flood. They had pointed out the decrease in the carrying capacity of the River and its flood spill over channel over last few decades because of the absence of any dredging being carried out there. From 1986 till very recently no dredging was carried out in the outflow channel resulting into the drastic reduction in its carrying capacity from 17000 cusec to 3531 cusec. Similarly, no effective steps were taken to increase the flow velocity in the 96 kilometre Sangam-Wular mild slope stretch of river Jhelum. Last year the Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control publicly admitted that nothing substantial had been done regarding dredging of the River and the Flood Channel. The stark example of absence of dredging in the flood channel can be observed just from its embankments from Ikhrajpora to Rambagh Bridge. The flood channel at many places is almost filled up with silt and bushes have grown even till the top of its embankments. Inspections have been done and work started from Bemina downwards. No one seems to be concerned with the starting stretch of the channel. This portion is prone to overflow of banks in case of even a small flood. In some places, the earth has been excavated but left there on the spot. There is urgent need to arrange proper dredging of the flood channel especially the vulnerable portions. There are many allegations regarding the project. The ideal way would be to get the dredging done departmentally under the supervision of engineers. A dozen JCBs and a few dozen dumpers could complete the assignment in a month at the most provided these are operated on a continuous basis under technical supervision. It may also be worthwhile to arrange an open discussion on the subject in which some previous engineers and experts could also be invited for giving advice and opinion. However, the task needs to be given highest priority to avoid future nightmares!



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