Editorial | This perpetual flood threat

Nallah Sindh in Ganderbal. GK photo

Last week when it rained for some days, horrific thoughts of the 2014 floods started haunting once more. As if Kashmir is perpetually living with the memories of that terrible flood which drowned cities, towns and villages all alike. And it is never an unfounded fear that a medium degree of rainfall can cause a flood here. We have seen, after 2014 floods, how many times we have faced a threat of flood, even official announcements about the flood alert were made. The question that the people here have been asking each time is that why no worthwhile steps were taken post 2014 floods to save Kashmir from this perpetual threat of floods. We have been hearing about enhancing the carrying capacity of the rivers, rivulets, and flood channels. But how much progress do we witness on the ground. This last rainfall, just a few days back, exposed the vulnerability of the city of Srinagar. In fact in one of the areas in the uptown Srinagar there was spill over of water from a flood channel and it caused great panic in the residents of that area. If only the flood channels would have been managed well, we could put up a good defence when the water levels rise in our rivers and other water bodies. But it is not so. In fact certain things have been done in the reverse.

The construction of bridges and foot bridges on various flood channels have further enhanced the danger of floods in the nearby areas. If the construction of these bridges was unavoidable, then parallel defences should have ben raised. These flood spill channels could have been properly dredged to enhance their carrying capacity, the embankments could have been reinforced so that no breech happens, and the level of these banks could have been raised to avoid any spill over. But the failure of the government on this count is too stark to be missed. These recent rains should alert the concerned departments and they should gear up to take the necessary steps. Up ahead we expect more rains, and people cannot be left to their own devices. In fact there are no devices people can employ when waters beyond a certain level. We actually leave people defenceless. We throw them, along with their possessions, into the raging waters. It is not a failure on part of the government in the simple sense, it is actually a crime. The unpardonable crime of putting propel’s lives, and properties, to peril.