Editorial|Forgotten Flood Prevention

Centre 'unwilling' to financial aid for Kashmir flood victims, says Omar

Recently, there was a report that the State’s Disaster Management Organisation has conducted a mock exercise for managing the damage done by a flood. A detailed drill was held to see the preparedness of various agencies. In fact some mock camps for holding people displaced by a possible flood were also set up.

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

Such measures have been taken earlier also. The most talked about is the flood prevention plan executed by the historical figure Hakeem Suya during the reign of King Avanti Varman. These too persons devised and executed a wonderful flood prevention plan and the valley people were saved from the calamity for a long time.

Why can’t our present rulers execute a similar plan honestly and 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 of 2014, the most important task of the government was to initiate immediate flood prevention measures.

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

During the last Governor’s rule some measures were initiated. A Kolkata based firm was awarded the contract and they offered to use various types of dredgers to complete the task. However, the progress of the firm was abnormally slow and in fact some of their dredgers broke down. According to some experts the dredgers used by them were not suitable for the river dredging.

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!