Rains swell Wular Lake in Bandipora

Heavy rains led to massive water logging in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar city on Thursday, 25 July 2019. Habib Naqash/GK

The incessant rains have swelled the Wular Lake here in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district with many low-lying villages complaining of water-logging while others being on the verge of being submerged.

According to the official readings of the I&FC department, the water level on Sunday morning in the Wular was only two notches below the ‘alert’ level but with rains continuing and dredging activities also going on in the lake, the water level is “dangerously increasing”.

Though the authorities in the district on Sunday said that the water level was static after a halt in the rains and posed no immediate threat, “verbal alert” was sounded to the officers to remain ready for any eventuality.

The officials in the district administration confirmed the advisory about the “alert”.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Executive Engineer, PHE and Flood Control, Bandipora, Abdul Khaliq said, “All our teams like SDRF and revenue are already on alert and are monitoring the flood-prone areas. The control room is also keeping a close eye on the situation.”

However, he said there was no immediate flood threat.

Khaliq said that the officials were sent to the sites and that they had reported back that there was no immediate flood threat while halt in the rain was also proving a sigh of relief.

He said that the nature reclaims itself and encroachments are done, the costs have to be borne.

Khaliq said that water logging in Saderkoot Payeen was controlled after asking Wullar Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) to fill the breach in the embankment made of muck dredged from the Wular Lake.

Tehsildar Bandipora, Mubashir Nazki said, “The revenue teams were ready. We have shared all the data which includes the number of low-lying areas along Wular Lake and the population living in it with the district administration.” He said that in case there is a flood threat, based on the previous devastating flood experience they had already formulated a plan to shift the population to safety.

According to officials, the low-lying villages facing immediate flood threat include Kulhama Lankrishipora, Laharwalpora, Garoora and S K Payeen.

Around 30 villages are settled along the lake in the district.

Meanwhile, locals along these areas are feeling worried and are complaining that the swelling lake waters are affecting their livelihood.

A local Manzoor Ahmad said that the rising waters in the lake affect their livelihood as there are meager chances to catch fish.

“All fishermen are jobless as rain is hampering their fishing activity,” he said. “For the past week, the lake water is increasing which is making us worried.”

Middle-aged fisherman Shabir Ahmad said, “The lake water has increased significantly and when, coupled with winds, the water rises to over 20 feet high, we feel extremely scared to venture out in the lake.”

He said the flood-like situation in Wular Lake was worrisome as they fear for the safety of their lives and properties.