Srinagar: A comprehensive project undertaken to enhance the carrying capacity of the river Jhelum is yet to be fully completed as the Jammu and Kashmir government is awaiting the release of funds from the central government for the Jhelum Flood Management plan - phase 2.
An estimated amount of Rs 1623 Cr has been earmarked for comprehensive flood management of river Jhelum and its tributaries- phase-II under the Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP).
A senior official informed that the J&K administration had given its investment clearance to the project and allocated its budget share. “Now, we’re only waiting for the union cabinet's nod followed by central funding,” he said.
As per the status report of the project accessed by Greater Kashmir, technical sanction for the plan was approved in December 2019 and investment clearance was accorded to the project of Rs 1623.43 Cr on February 19, 2020, but it was conveyed on July 30, 2020.
“Budget proposal/UC for Rs 684.61 Cr including Rs 227.44 Cr UT share has been submitted to the Department of Water Resources (DoWR, RD & GR) during 2021-22 for release of funds,” reads an official document of the J&K government.
“The Department of WR, RD & GR may consider phase-II (Part-A) as the ongoing project instead of new because it forms part of the overall project of the PM’s Development Package (PMDP) approved during 2015-16. However, the DoWR, RD & GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti has informed that the scheme has been included under CSS-FMBAP 2021-26. Action for cabinet approval has been initiated by the DoWR, RD & GR. Approval is expected shortly,” the official document adds.
After the devastating floods of 2014, the Government of India sanctioned the plan for comprehensive flood management of River Jhelum and its tributaries.” The project was funded under the Prime Minister’s Development Package. The flood management plan for river Jhelum was divided into two phases.
As per the official document, an amount of Rs 399 Cr was sanctioned for the first phase, of which Rs 323 Cr had been released. “Phase-1 is substantially completed, discharge carrying capacity increased at Sangam from 31,800 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs. Two bridges were to be completed by October 2021.”
After substantially completing the first phase, the government of J&K has sought funds for the second phase.
The project was proposed after floods wreaked havoc in Jammu & Kashmir in 2014. The devastating deluge devoured 300 lives and damaged property worth thousands of crores of rupees in the state.
A committee set up by the Government of India to go into the cause of catastrophic floods suggested several measures to prevent such calamities in future.
In its report, the panel recommended several long-term measures including additional supplementary flood spill channels, creation of storage facilities on tributaries of Jhelum, flood plain zoning, and enhancing the capacity of Wullar lake.
“Small storages on various tributaries of Jhelum for general, power, and/or flood purposes as per provisions of Indus Water Treaty may be planned and created. This will help in moderating the floods and also enable in reducing the sediment load of river Jhelum,” the panel recommended.
In 2020, J&K administration accorded approval in principle to the comprehensive plan for flood management works on Jhelum-II.
The project has been formulated to achieve the short-term goal of mitigating the flood threat at Sangam in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
After the devastating floods of September 2014, and on the recommendations of a high-level committee, constituted by the Centre, a multi-pronged strategy was adopted for flood mitigation in Kashmir valley. Accordingly, to enhance the carrying capacity of the river Jhelum from the then 31000 cusecs to 60000 cusecs, the action was envisaged in two phases under PMDP.