Jhelum's carrying capacity enhanced by 25% from 2014

J&K awaits release of funds for 2nd phase under Flood Management Plan
Jhelum's carrying capacity enhanced by 25% from 2014
The 2014 devastating floods in Srinagar and its adjoining areas wreaked havoc and caused an estimated over 1 lakh crore losses to the public and private infrastructure. [File]Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: To prevent 2014-like floods in Kashmir division, the carrying capacity of river Jhelum has been enhanced by 25 percent by dredging of the river and its flood spill channels.

The 2014 devastating floods in Srinagar and its adjoining areas wreaked havoc and caused an estimated over 1 lakh crore losses to the public and private infrastructure. Subsequently the government of India announced a comprehensive Flood Management Plan.

The Flood Management Plan was divided into two parts: Phase 1 and Phase 2. So far, 98 percent progress has been achieved on phase 1, while for phase 2, J&K administration is awaiting release for funds from the central government.

Speaking to , Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control, Naresh Kumar said "Carrying capacity of river Jhelum has been enhanced by 25 percent from what it was in 2014, we have done spot dredging of flood channels where the need was felt to do so.

“In the first phase of the plan, we have achieved 98 percent of the progress; only two percent is remaining for which we need support from power development as they have to shift their utilities at Sharifabad and Nadikhai to pave the way for completion of works."

The Chief Engineer said: "For Phase 2 part A, investment clearance for Rs 1623 crore has been already cleared, now we are awaiting release of funds as the Department of Water Resources have informed that funds will be released only after they will put this project in their five year plan for 2022-26."

After the devastating floods of 2014, the government of India sanctioned ‘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 of River Jhelum was divided into two phases. As per the official document, Rs 399 crore was sanctioned for the first phase, of which Rs 323 crore has been released. “Phase-1 is substantially completed, discharge carrying capacity increased at Sangam from 31,800 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs. Two bridges to be completed by October 2021.” After substantially completing the first phase, the government of J&K has sought funds for the second phase.

“Technical sanction and investment clearance accorded to the project at Rs.1623.43 crore. Budget proposal/UC for Rs. 321.76 crore including Rs. 96.528 crore UT share was submitted to the Department of Water Resources (DoWR), RD and GR during 2020-21 for release of funds.” “The Department of MoWR, may consider Phase-II (part-A) as an ongoing project instead of new because it forms part of the overall project of the PM’s Development Package (PMDP) approved during 2015-16.” 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 crore 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 channel, creation of storage facilities on tributaries of Jhelum, flood plain zoning and enhancing capacity of Wular 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 at a cost of Rs 5411.54 crore.The project is proposed to be implemented part-wise with Part A amounting to Rs 1,684.60 crore approved under Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP) and Part B for which source of funding is to be identified.

The project has been formulated to achieve 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 carrying capacity of the river Jhelum from the then 31000 cusecs to 60000 cusecs, action was envisaged in two phases under PMDP.

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