Come August and the threat of flood looms large in Kashmir particularly in low-lying areas around Jhelum which include Padshahi Bagh, Natipora, Raj Bagh etc on the onset of rainy season. The threat gets more apocalyptic with every passing year. Ironically, it is also the same season when rain is sought by the farmers for agriculture and horticulture which forms a major portion of the backbone in the economy of Kashmir.
While God is benevolent in pouring the much needed rain for farmers, it acts like a double-edged sword when it wreaks havoc on the poor residents of various lying areas.
Ask any resident of the flood prone areas they will describe you their fear and how they dread this raining season as it brings back the past nightmares of previous floods. Our flood channels and flood lungs seem to be so choked that they can't withstand even two days of downpour as was have seen just couple of weeks when flood was declared after two days of rainfall.
Much has been written about the ways and methods to stop these frequent floods and flood threats and I am certain that administration is capable to plug and find the solutions ranging from dredging of Jhelum to removing encroachments to strengthening embankments. Provided the government wants to really curb these threats, the government can do it in multiple ways, so I would not lecture them on how to do it as they know it better than me, but I would like to describe the pain and agony and the nightmares that the residents of the flood prone area go through. In brief, of course.
The gloomy picture of 2014 floods might be reeling in front of our eyes, but the it gets worse every season. As the downpour starts, our heads start tilting towards the sky, the tension fills the air and panic and fear grips their bodies and souls. Before the actual floods, the apprehension of flood takes an equal toll on their social, economic and psychological aspects.
Economically, our buildings get damaged if it doesn't get down brick by brick every time. Socially, we are not even able to mourn the deceased in rainy season. Weddings have to be decided according to rain clouds. forget holding wedding functions which obviously get cancelled. And it goes without saying that hospitals get inaccessible and infants and elders are its worst victims. Psychologically, its residents are never at peace. The threat of the flood looms large back in their minds always. They are always on toes to shift from one place to another.
So brushing politics and vested interests aside, the dredging and others measures to stop floods in future need to be undertaken on humanitarian grounds.