Authorities sit on desilting of city's choked drainage system

Failure of authorities to undertake de-silting of drains is one of the major reasons for water-logging in the summer capital.

Experts said the drainage system in the city has lost carrying capacity as the entire network has got choked owing to accumulation of silt. 

This was once again evident on Thursday when a few hours of rains inundated the commercial hub Lal Chowk and several city areas.

Despite having three agencies – SMC, UEED and ERA — mandated to manage drainage system in Srinagar, de-silting of drains was pending for the past several years.

“Problem of water logging will persist until the authorities don’t resolve the root cause. They must go for immediate de-silting of existing drainage system. Constructing effective drainage system may fall under the category of long term planning,” said an expert.

He said cleaning of drains will increase water carrying capacity which otherwise overflows, submerging most areas of Srinagar.

He added that under-sized and choked roadside surface drains and pipelines need to be replaced.

“Hopefully, the authorities will learn from the past experiences and adopt pro-active approach to tackle this problem,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a trader at Regal Chowk.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) city drainage executive engineer Imtiyaz Qazi said they have prepared Rs 14 crore annual de-silting proposal. “But owing to non-availability of the funds the proposal hasn’t materialized.”

He said SMC would float tenders in next few days for undertaking de-siltation of drains in Lal Chowk and adjacent areas.

On Thursday (July 25), most areas of the summer capital Srinagar remained water-logged, causing hardships to commuters, after early morning rains.

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.