Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Tuesday chaired a high level meeting here at Raj Bhawan to review the status of Jhelum River Flood Protection Works and the flood response mechanism being put at place by various departments and agencies in Kashmir division.
The Governor stressed on the need for seamless coordination and synergy among various departments and agencies like Irrigation and Flood Control, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction departments, divisional and district administration, Police, Army, CRPF and voluntary organisations to enable dealing with disasters like floods cohesively, promptly and in a befitting manner.
It was directed that the departments, divisional and district administration should be ready with their response in the form of a composite plan which can be put into action as and when required to tackle the challenges on account of a disaster like flood swiftly, cohesively and without any hassle, much to the convenience of the people.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir in his detailed briefing submitted the measures taken by the divisional and district administrations post 2014 floods and flood like situation of 2018 to address the gaps in effective flood preparedness.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir informed that audit of the embankments of Jhelum river and its tributaries has been undertaken and several critical spots identified for corrective action. He said over 6 lakh sand bags are available with the I&FC department to strengthen these critical spots. He also gave details about the availability of boats, shelters, tents, blankets, health kits and other relief material.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir was asked to expeditiously finalize the land acquisition cases of Bandipora along-with the rehabilitation plan of families likely to be displaced on account of acquisition proceedings in Bandipora and near Hokersar as part of the flood mitigation measures being undertaken by the Government.
The Commissioner/Secretary, PHE and I&FC briefed the meeting about the Jhelum River flood preparedness including the short and long term measures being undertaken, status of implementation of the comprehensive ‘Flood Mitigation Plan’, strengthening of the flood forecast, monitoring and response system in the division.
It was informed that under Short Term Measures – Phase-I, I&FC department has prepared “Priority works – comprehensive plan for Flood Management Works on Jhelum” costing Rs.399.29 Cr and this is presently under execution.
Under Phase-II and to mitigate a flood threat of 60,000 Cusecs at Sangam, the department has submitted a DPR of Rs. 5411.54 Cr to the Central Water Commission, (CWC) GoI for appraisal and technical clearance.
Under, the long term measures and to mitigate a total discharge of over 115000 Cusecs, supplementary flood spillway channels, flood storage dams in tributaries of Jhelum and conservation of flood detention basins from Sangam to Padshaibagh etc are being looked at, subject to the outcome of studies and model analysis.
I&FC department has plugged 3,320 breaches/weak spots under temporary restoration and completed 1,235 breached/other spots under permanent restoration.
In order to strengthen the flood assessment before hand, it was informed that 9 more Automatic Water Level Recorders (AWLRs) are being installed by the I&FC Department including 2 in River Jhelum at Pampore and Asham, 6 on various tributaries of Jhelum viz Romshi Nallah, Sindh Nallah, Pohru Nallah, Sukhnag Nallah, Doodganga and Ferozpora Nallah and one in Wullar lake at Ningli.
Further, the I&FC Department has moved a proposal under World Bank funded JTFRP for installation of 11 more AWLRs on River Jhelum & 23 AWLRs on various tributaries, 13 Automatic Rain Gauges (ARGs) in various catchments to record & communicate the real time rainfall data and 20 Acoustic Doppler Profilers (ADPs) or WVRS to record & communicate the real time discharge (flow) of Jhelum at 9 Stations & of various tributaries at 11 stations.
Secretary, DMRR&R briefed about the steps being taken for operationalization of the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) at Humhama Srinagar. He was directed to take all the required steps for fitting the SEOC at Humhama with state of art equipment to ensure its 24×7 functioning including VSAT communication and generator sets.
Secretary, DMRR&R further informed that 7 SDRF, 2 NDRF, 100 Home Guard Teams and hundreds of trained volunteers are exclusively available for rescue operations in case of any eventuality.
The Secretary, DMRR&R was directed to review the availability of rescue equipment with the districts and SDRF officials and immediately project requirements, so that funds can be sanctioned for procurement of the same under SDRF. To facilitate coordination in the matters relating to control room, evacuation, rescue and relief, the Divisional and District Administration were asked to prepare for communication redundancies and those related to essential supplies including power, ration, fuel and medicine.
The DCs were instructed to undertake a mock drill simulating a disaster like situation and involving all concerned departments and also including village and ward level committees & volunteers to assess the level of preparedness and measures required to strengthen the same. He stressed upon community participation and greater involvement of local volunteers in handling disasters.
The I&FC and DMRR&R departments were directed to give focused attention to the contour map of Srinagar, while drawing up the rescue and relief plan for various flood prone areas of the city. The DC Srinagar was directed to hold a meeting with SMC officials to work out the requirements, if any, with regard to de-silting and cleaning of drainage and sewerage networks in the city and project the same to the Government through Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.
The DMRR&R was asked to transcribe the daily weather alerts into easily comprehensible messages for the public so that people are aware of the weather in advance.
The Chief Secretary directed the divisional administration and DCs to draw up a check list detailing the elements of the action plan on mitigation of floods/other disasters for facility of convenient operation. The components of the check list will interalia include EoC centre, district control room, police control room, alert system, weather alert, information sharing with different departments and public so as to give correct feedback, rescue equipment, communication equipment, relief measures, availability of sufficient accommodation/shelters with all basic facilities besides storage tanks, mobile toilets, public address system in shelters etc.
The Chief Secretary observed that the role of officers/officials should be clearly spelt out/defined so that there is no confusion or duplication or overlap in any of the activities being undertaken which can otherwise obstruct the smooth relief and rescue operations.
He said duty charts of officer/officials should be drawn up with details including name, contact number, area of jurisdiction/responsibility etc at the District, Sub- District and even upto village and ward level and pasted in concerned Control rooms and also circulated by 15 May, 2019 among the concerned.
The Chief Secretary stressed for planning a greater number of shelters with required facilities for the convenience of the families as may be affected by disasters. He also impressed upon undertaking only such disaster mitigation activities as are in sync with the Srinagar Master Plan.
He asked the PWD to undertake survey of embankments of River Jhelum to ascertain as to whether any of the bridges require re-designing on account of river flow obstruction. He also asked the PWD to mark the bridges on river Jhelum to easily help the people in discerning the water levels in their areas.
In order to feed the public with the correct and timely information and dispel rumour mongering, the Chief Secretary asked DCs to devise a mechanism in consultation with the Telecom Operators like BSNL so that public/media can be informed through flash alerts on WhatsApp, through SMSs, bulletin etc.