No swimming in the Nallah

Nallah Sindh, a major tributary to the Jehlum river, flows through Ganderbal district in central Kashmir. It is mainly used for irrigation, and generation of Hydroelectricity. Besides, it supplies drinking water to Srinagar city through Rangil Water Treatment Plant.

But flowing very close to the highway passing through the district, Nallah Sindh is often thronged by hundreds of local people particularly during summers to beat the heat. Most of the youth who take a bath or try swimming in this river do it with a sense of adventure. As a result many of lost lives, drowning in Nallah Sindh.

People who come from other districts have no idea about the level and depth of the waters in Sindh river, turning adventure into tragedy. Over the years many lives, mostly young men, have been consumed by the waters of the Nallah Sindh.

This attractive water spot where people go to beat the heat turns out to be a death trap. Deaths due to drowning in waterbodies particularly Nallah Sindh continue to be an matter of concern for everyone including the administration here.

People, mostly young, bathe in those attractive water pockets without knowing the water current or what danger awaits at the bottom of the waterbodies. There are also incidents in rivers and canals where more than one person died, when one of the victims (without taking precaution) tried to save a friend caught in a water current or slushy bottom of the waterbody.

There is a need for an awareness campaign on deaths by drowning, exactly on the pattern of awareness drives conducted to combat road accident deaths. There is also responsibility of the parents to advice their children to avoid such misadventures where they can lose their precious lives. There is a long stretch of the Nallah Sindh where people go for bathing or swimming and it is impossible for the local police or the local administration to deploy their men all along the stretch. However, the responsibility of the administration is to ensure that safety measures are in place.

In view of frequent loss of precious lives due to drowning in Nallah Sindh, and as part of precautionary measures, the district administration Ganderbal has now imposed a complete ban on swimming/bathing in Nallah Sindh & its tributaries in Ganderbal.

Regarding safety measures at such places the administration should make available all necessary life saving equipments to the concerned police personal, and to the local volunteers, who have played a major part during such rescue operations. This can minimise the loss of life.  The administration should also post warning boards at such places and also fence the accident prone areas.