One of the most annoying features of the Smart City of Srinagar faced by the citizens as well as visitors is the faulty drainage. This becomes evident with every heavy downpour. Most of the streets in the main shopping areas get water logged. Sometimes the areas near the Jahangir Chowk especially on the Exhibition side have almost 3 to 4 feet of water. Often the authorities have to request the Fire Brigade to pump out the water and pour it into Jhelum River. Most of the areas which have proper drains do also have pumping stations which if started quickly drain out the water in a matter of hours. A very effective drainage system is visible in the colony of Jawahar Nagar. No doubt the roads get submerged with heavy downpour but these also get dewatered in a matter of just couple of hours because of two effective pump stations near the Government Polytechnic and Ikhrajpora. The drain water is pumped out into the Flood Spill Over Channel. One of the most important aspects of having an effective drainage system is to ensure the cleaning of drains from time to time. Unfortunately, this aspect quite often gets neglected as the drainage department people get their accesses to drains blocked by the roads department who invariably cover up the manholes with macadam hardly leaving space to open these! We are left with pits or mounds, a danger to driving and blockage of access to the drains!
Then there is the problem of confusing a sewer with a drain. Drains are usually to carry waste water or rain water to pumping stations. On the other hand the sewers convey the sewerage from homes to a treatment plant. In Srinagar, there seems to be no difference between drains and sewers. Only, the Public Health Engineering people can throw light on the subject whether Srinagar has only a drainage system or a full-fledged sewerage system with treatment plants? Here, it may be mentioned that sometime back the Asian Development Bank had sanctioned a project for various civic services in Jammu & Kashmir including a drainage project for Srinagar city. According to information the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) had spent Rs. 1,411 crores on various infrastructure projects including drainage in the city of Srinagar. It would be very useful if the agency could detail out the projects concerning drainage completed by it. Also it needs to be ascertained if huge amounts have already been spent on Srinagar drainage then why it continues to be faulty? Someone needs to answer that question!