FEW days ahead of the first anniversary of what Kashmiris witnessed after a century— the deluge of decades on September 7, 2014- a road was macadamised just adjacent to the Bund from where River Jhelum breached and submerged the city.
None from the Shivpora area, which was the worst hit, raised any hue and cry about the mud being put on this Bund which could be breached once Jhelum overflows it and they forget the stress of inevitable disaster once its level decreases.
Often residents living across the road point out to oozing of water once the water level rises as this year Jhelum almost touched the top of bund during days of ending March, in the first week of April (Apr 3), April 27, mid-May, June 24, and again on July 13 when flood alert was declared by the government— which sounded it for the fourth time consecutively this year.
The last time alert was prior to Eid-ul-Fitr when the entire administration was on tenterhooks to save the situation getting out of control. Thankfully, Almighty has His way to protect our small world. Notwithstanding so many warnings, those who suffered most in the last year's deluge continue to take refuge in customary government support which was missing when they were hit by the gushing waters.
This much vouched and talked about official intervention has been missing for a year now as the bund-the barrier- has yet to take shape of concrete wall.
The lackadaisical approach is evident right from Pampore where river water slowly entered through the lifeline-the highway, to Athwajan or Pandrethan, where encroachments are rule for residents while the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control which is supposed to protect the bund continues to act as mere spectator despite High Court orders to remove all the structures on the bund.
The same department has erected concrete office at Sempore side of the bund indicating how serious it's to control floods.
During erstwhile Dogra rule, it was crime to carry a spade on the bund while now tippers move frequently on it for sand extraction and people earn substantial living out of it. No protest, no strike, or even a quarrel over this issue.
Even Masjids have been constructed on this bund making it difficult for official machinery to restore the sanctity of bund.
At places in front of Mehjoor's grave, for a year now the breach is only filled with sand bags while some metres away, people have put logs, parked vehicles while garbage is no exception for them.
In March, it was as if Jhelum entered city again from there but after it receded with no local initiative to improve upon the affected area from where it could have turned disastrous.
The multiple breaches at Shivpora from where it was all over took at those spots where encroachments or erosion of bund was rampant.
Everyone except few are living and renovating by investing heavily to live but hardly any cry from those affected is over strengthening the barrier between them and river.
The paltry compensation received could have been spent or diverted to repair the bund while voluntary efforts should have taken over the issues confronting the inevitable.
Thankfully, the day this year is dry with hope that there won't be repeat of same Sunday morning when expected casualties turned out to be living to survive.
Yet there is no hope from the State to save lives and the crux lies in being alert and wake up from being in sleeping mode.