People of Kashmir face flood threat due to dysfunctional flood control channel

Srinagar, Apr. 19: The biggest and historic flood control channel of Kashmir that drains into river Jhelum has turned into a drainage canal due to government’s negligence and is now posing flood threat to the people of the valley.

Kashmir valley is known for its immense natural beauty and water bodies. However, for last two decades, maximum number of water bodies of valley has been shrinking due to encroachment and government’s apathy.

Residents feel that shrinking of flood channels will badly affect the future of Kashmir, because the flood channels absorb excess water from the river Jhelum during flood periods.

But unfortunately this historical flood channel is in shambles and dredging process of the channel has been stopped.

“This water channel is important for Kashmir. When rain was in excess here water used to flow through this channel, saving people from flood. The water was useful to the residents as well. Now the situation is that dredging is also not properly happening and people are also polluting it and I wish if government could do something about this so that common man would benefit out of it,” said Manzoor Ahmad.

Some years back, with a grant of millions of rupees sanctioned by federal government, the irrigation and flood control authorities began dredging drive and other restoration related activities.

Unfortunately this historical flood channel is now useless and people of Srinagar, who are living in surroundings of river Jhelum and flood channel, feel unsafe.

However, authorities claimed the work is in progress regarding the restoration and repair of flood control drains.

“We are expecting flood which would occur after completion of cycle after every 60 years. Since the 60 years is completed now, we are expecting flood anytime. We have done lot of work regarding the flood channels. For example, I had made not less than 70 projects to drain the catchment areas and we have also submitted those projects to government of India, out of which two-three were approved last year,” said Chief Engineer of Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Javed Jaffer.

Jaffer added that the irrigation department has almost completed the dredging process of the channel although some work is pending due the climatic conditions.

Dredging has been stopped recently as Kashmir was receiving high amount of snowfall and rain in the past two months. (ANI)