Editorial|Forgotten Flood Prevention

Editorial|Forgotten Flood Prevention
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Recently, there was a report that the State's DisasterManagement Organisation has conducted a mock exercise for managing the damagedone by a flood. A detailed drill was held to see the preparedness of variousagencies. In fact some mock camps for holding people displaced by a possibleflood were also set up.

This was to ensure full preparedness to face the disaster ifit occurs. However, the moot point is why should one wait for the disaster tooccur? There are umpteen ways to prevent the disaster from occurring in thefirst place.

Such measures have been taken earlier also. The most talkedabout is the flood prevention plan executed by the historical figure HakeemSuya during the reign of King Avanti Varman. These too persons devised andexecuted a wonderful flood prevention plan and the valley people were savedfrom the calamity for a long time.

Why can't our present rulers execute a similar plan honestlyand meticulously now with all the modern facilities available to them? In fact,such a plan has been in existence for some time. After the disastrous flood of2014, the most important task of the government was to initiate immediate floodprevention measures.

The top most measure was the dredging of the River Jhelumand the flood spill over channel so as to increase the water holding capacityof the both. Along with this first step, the other important measure was tostrengthen the River and Flood Channel embankments which had been breached inmany places during the last flood.

During the last Governor's rule some measures wereinitiated. A Kolkata based firm was awarded the contract and they offered touse various types of dredgers to complete the task. However, the progress ofthe firm was abnormally slow and in fact some of their dredgers broke down. Accordingto some experts the dredgers used by them were not suitable for the riverdredging.

The firm was put on notice by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department but nothing positive seems to have happened. The worst is the very tardy and haphazard dredging in the flood spill over channel. The same is the story of Wullar dredging and the strengthening of the River embankments breached during the last flood.

There is still time to accelerate the flood prevention measures. It is hoped that the Governor will take notice and ensure implementation of urgent preventive measures than make preparations to deal with an avoidable disaster!

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