GK Impact|Jhelum embankment repairs taken up at Shivpora

Authorities on Sunday started repairing fresh cracks along the Jhelum embankments in Shivpora on a war footing.

The development came after divisional administration of Kashmir took cognizance of a report in Greater Kashmir and the dangerous cracks and directed authorities to repair the embankment. 

The embankment of Jhelum at Yatto Mohalla in Shivpora area has developed fresh cracks exposing Srinagar to an increased risk of flooding, and causing panic in the adjacent areas as people fear floods with rainy season approaching. 

Residents in the area alleged that the damaged embankment was further sinking due to “official apathy.”

On Sunday, a team of official and experts visited the spot to take the assessment of damage.

“We have started repairing work and it will be completed by Tuesday evening (16 April),” said Mukhtar Ahmad Wani, assistant executive engineer, irrigation and flood control department, sub-division Sonwar.

The weak embankments have raised questions over the state government’s flood mitigation measures.

Signifying failure of authorities to undertake flood prevention measures, breach in embankments occurred several times during last three years.

Residents of Shivpora said earlier breach in the bund was caused near a temple at the same spot wherefrom 2014 flood waters had entered the area.

However, the alert residents had informed flood control department which plugged the breach.

A large stretch of embankment of river Jhelum crumbed near Lasjan on 24 January 2018.

Luckily, the level of water at that time was low.  On 2 July 2018, breaches in embankments at Shivpora area were caused at same spots where from Jhelum water had entered the locality during the devastating floods in 2014, signifying failure of authorities to undertake flood prevention measures.

On September 7, 2014, Jhelum crossed record 23-feet at Ram Munshi Bagh gauge submerging localities on both sides of the river including city’s commercial hub Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas.

Residents demand that a toe-wall needs to be constructed from Shivpora temple to Athwajan to prevent breach of embankments in case water level rises in Jhelum. 

They fear that breaches at Batwara and other adjacent places have been repaired without applying any technical expertise and demand an audit of the works.

In September 2014, Jhelum water had entered Rajbagh, Chattabal, Parimpora and other areas by overflowing the banks. 

After the flood waters receded, an analysis was done to determine how flood water entered the city areas. Low height of banks was found as one reason. Later it was decided to raise the level of embankments for future protection.