Few hours of rains prove dearer to Srinagar economy

KCCI claims Rs 200 cr damage due to water logging
Few hours of rains prove dearer to Srinagar economy
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Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday said the frequent water logging due to torrential rains is causing huge losses to Srinagar's economy as all sort of businesses and tourist activity gets adversely impacted by water logging in the city.

Addressing a press conference, president, KCCI, Sheikh Ashiqsaid Thursday's rains inundating parts of the summer capital had resulted in Rs150- Rs 200 crore losses to the business community.

"We received hundreds of distress calls from traderscomplaining that water entered their shops and business establishments. It isunfortunate that shopkeepers had to do de-watering throughout the day. Fewhours of rains caused a body-blow to Srinagar making trade suffer Rs 150 – Rs200 crore losses in just a day as water has seeped inside shops damaging goodsworth crores," said Ashiq.

Ashiq blamed successive governments for their failure informulating an efficient drainage system in the summer capital. The KCCIpresident said present-day administration needs to respond on how funds worththousands of crores earmarked under Prime Minister's Development Package andWorld Bank funding for development of Srinagar city have been spent.

"We urge Governor Satya Pal Malik and his administration tobring clarity on the issue of drainage and flood-control measures that havebeen taken up so far. We project Srinagar as a must-visit place for touristsbut once they come here and witness such scenes of water-logging, we feel wehave let them down," said Ashiq. "There is so much of fund allocation andseveral tenders floated but the end result on the ground is nil. There is noinfrastructure development when it comes to tackling flooding," says Ashiq.

Ashiq said the chamber on several occasions has raised theissue of flooding and water-logging with higher authorities in the stateadministration but with no result.

"Dredging of Jhelum, de-silting and increasing carryingcapacity of Wullar have all been a scam. We formed an expert committee on theissue of flood prevention and submitted its views with the government but to noavail," said Ashiq. Ashiq said drainage is missing in most of the areas andwherever it is present is outdated. "The need of the hour is to have anupgraded drainage system. "We have been promised so many amenities under SmartCity but the way few hours of rainfall has inundated the entire city isshocking," Ashiq said.

Ashiq stated that de-watering measures such as thosewitnessed on Thursday was a temporary solution. "The buck lies with the Housingand Urban Development Department and the civic body of the city who have failedto draft policies on developing civic amenities. One wonders what will be ourcondition if there is a continuous rainfall of 4-5 days," Ashiq said. "Thissort of callousness is unacceptable to the business community which is yet tocome to terms from 2014 floods. We need solutions and that too permanent onesso that this frequent menace of water logging especially of the city center isaddressed once for all," he said.

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