Flood mitigation project misses deadline, granted 7 more months

After failing to meet the March deadline for completion of the first phase of flood mitigation programme, authorities have set October 2019 as the new deadline for the irrigation and flood control department of Jammu and Kashmir government.

Delay in completion of Phase-I can cause inordinate delay in initiation of Phase-II as latter can only be started after its completion.

During floods, 60,000 cusecs of water traverse from Sangam to Srinagar, much higher than the capacity of Jhelum in Srinagar.

Under phase-I design discharge, out of 60,000 cusecs 25000 cusecs would be diverted through flood spill channel (FSC) — off taking it at Padshahibagh. Only 35000 cusecs would flow in Jhelum while it passes through Srinagar city.

The project is aimed at to regulate Jhelum water level (60,000 cusecs) passing through Srinagar.

“Yes, we have extended deadline up to October 2019. Under phase-I, all work on Jhelum and flood spill channel has been completed. However, the land measuring 44 kanals at Naidkhai is yet to be acquired. That has delayed the completion of Phase-I,” chief engineer irrigation and flood control department, Ashok Kumar told Greater Kashmir.

He attributed the delay in acquisition of land at Naidkhai to dispute between locals and authorities.

“Now the dispute has been resolved. Many families have to be dislocated. We have to give them sufficient time for rehabilitation process,” Kumar said.

Any incomplete work, as per experts, under Phase-I on FSC can prove a disaster as diverting 25000 cusecs through it is the “only present option to minimise the flood threat to Srinagar city.”

The other priority works under phase-I comprise of dredging of Jhelum in Srinagar and Baramulla reach, revetment, toe protection and retaining walls along the river at various spots from Khanabal to Baramulla and various works on flood spill channel at the cost of Rs 399 crore.

Some other works under Phase-I are yet to be completed at few other places as well.

Two vital under-construction bridges at Shariefabad and Nadkhai are yet to be completed.

These two bridges, a “top priority under phase-I” once completed, will pave way for dismantling of existing low-lying roads passing through the channel, responsible for obstructing passing of flood water quickly.

 “These two bridges are executed by JKPCC. We have asked them to expedite the process and complete projects forthwith,” Kumar said.

The recently constructed retaining walls under phase-I at several spots at Hamdania Colony Bemina have major gaps left due to presence of PDD poles and a transformer through which water can enter the locality, rendering the whole work futile.

At Hajibagh, an area near Hokersar, authorities are yet to complete the re-sectioning target due to resistance by some locals who demand construction of embankment at Hokersar which goes against the Supreme Court directions for protection of wetlands.

Authorities have been directed by Supreme Court “not to leave even a small dump in Hokersar” – a wetland.

“All works on flood spill channel from Bemina to Hokarsar have been completed as per approved plan,” Kumar said.

Admitting hurdles and incompletion of work at Hajibagh under Phase-I, Kumar said all these maters would be sorted out shortly as they have been taken up with higher authorities.

The flood spill channel starts from Padshahibagh and flows into Wullar lake in Bandipora district. It regulates Jhelum water level while passing through Srinagar city.

“We have completed all possible works and are ready to take 25000 cusecs quantity,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, assistant executive engineer flood spill channel Shariefabad division.