I ٰmmediately after heavy rain, Lal Chowk, face of Srinagar city, and its adjoining areas, present a pathetic scene due to water-logging. This is exactly what happened on Saturday morning also. Lal Chowk and neighbouring areas have the distinction of being the business nerve centre of the city. But flooded roads after heavy downpour anytime change the scene.
The vehicular and pedestrian movement becomes difficult. Even the shopkeepers find it difficult to open their shops. Prestigious colleges, and other educational institutions and government offices are also located in the vicinity of Lal Chowk. The students, employees, traders’ community, customers, and others face lot of inconvenience due to inundated roads. This problem is not new.
It has been there for decades now; without a permanent solution. The only recourse we have is the dewatering pumps that are sent to drain out the rain water. Some members from business community say the problem is because of faulty drainage system. If that is really the cause for water logging, the concerned authorities must take it seriously. If there is some other problem that too needs to be taken care of. A permanent solution needs to be found out.
The business community says that the trade at Lal Chowk is not the same as it used to be in the past. It has got adversely affected since the September, 2014 floods, followed by opening up of malls, departmental stores, and big shops in other parts of city. They say disallowing of parking of customers’ vehicles in front of shops, in absence of parking lots also hit their business. But now, with the coming up of new parking lots, this problem is resolved to some extent.
The traders want a solution to water logging, saying non-resolution hurts their business. It is not only Lal Chowk and neighbouring areas, other areas in the city too face it. Officials say that water-logging in low lying areas in absence of drainage cannot be stopped. They say that people construct their houses in low lying areas, having no drainage, and then complain of inundated roads after rains. But authorities cannot ignore such problems, and have to find solutions by guiding people, and helping them to overcome the problem. Finally, it is the responsibility of the government to tackle this issue.