Most areas of the summer capital Srinagar remained water-logged on Thursday, causing hardships to commuters, after rains lashed early morning.
The knee-deep water on roads, including Residency Road, MA Road, Hari Singh High Street caused hardships to commuters. It also led to massive traffic jam.
Most of the city markets, roads and localities literally remained submerged. Commuters and locals had to wade through water to reach respective destinations.
The problem was compounded by defunct drainage system at various areas. Despite having three agencies – SMC, UEED and ERA — mandated to handle drainage system in Srinagar, the choked drains led to worsening of the situation.
An official said that the problem gets compounded each time it rains as the much hyped drainage project from Post Office to Regal Chowk was yet to become functional.
This project aimed to minimize water logging, has already missed several deadlines. Effective de-silting of drains has so far also remained on papers only, causing rain water to overflow on the roads.
Under centrally sponsored scheme AMRUT, Union Ministry has released funds worth crores of rupees for construction of drainage system.
However, as per experts, the effective drainage system was not executed technically, resulting in failure to minimize submerging of areas as and when it rains.
Nietizens expressed resentment against the inaction of authorities, with most of youngsters using mobile cameras to capture situation and post them on various social networking sites.
Some of the photographs uploaded on social networking sites showed elderly persons struggling to cross the water logged roads, closed shops in submerged markets and massive traffic jam.
“I think it was too early to introduce smart transportation or electric buses in Srinagar. The priority must have been to arrange some boats so that locals and commuters can cross submerged roads including MA Road and Residency Road,” write advocate Marouf Khan.
The Press Enclave also remained water logged for hours. “This is one of the worst water logging I have ever seen,” said Wasim Ahmad, a salesman at Regal Chowk who could not open shop on time owing to water logging.
Amid criticism the authorities started the process to dewater the affected areas, markets and roads around afternoon.
The SMC city drainage executive engineer Imtiyaz Qazi tried to justify the water logging, attributing it to “flash rains.”
“It was not a normal rainfall that the existing drains are capable to regulate. It was flash rains,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said the water logging was a serious issue in the city owing to “host of issues” including obstruction of watershed.
He said three agencies were mandated to handle this – SMC, UEED and ERA.
The SMC, he said, has 80 permanent stations and 115 mobile stations catering to around 90% of area while UEED has 10 stations covering boulevard and Khanyar, apart from 3 stations controlled by the ERA.
“Additionally 49 more stations are under construction by ERA under JTFRP. Rampant use of banned plastic/polythene also caused initial choking in some areas. All three agencies have actively responded and additionally a fleet of fire tenders were deployed for dewatering at various locations,” said the DC.