EDITORIAL: WHY FLOOD THREAT LOOMS LARGE
The moment it starts raining in Kashmir, people start worrying about the floods. The fear has gone so deep into our minds that people leave all their assignments and priorities and try to figure out the details about the rising waters in Jhelum and Dal Lake.
Even while writing this column thousands of people living along the banks or inside the Dal Lake have been living a harrowing life since the past three days as the water level in the dal lake seems abnormally high.
So much so that water in the Dal Lake has touched the embankments at the Boulevard road and has even overflowed the roads leaving commuters and the people living in these areas concerned.
Experts have suggested that even during the year 2017 a massive flood can sweep through the most parts of the Valley and wash away whatever has been restored by the people after the 2014 deluge.
The rising water level in Jhelum and Dal Lake have been a cause of concern from the past three years. The reasons for this emerging phenomenon have not even been probed by the flood control and irrigation division of the state. This seems quite bizarre as the issue should have been of topmost priority for the government and the concerned department as well.
The issue of flood threat becoming an order of the day is proving taxing for a common man. This seems obvious as the floods that were witnessed in 2014 left a deep indelible mark on every aspect of our life.
Schools, colleges, government offices, residential houses and every sort of infrastructure was hit. So much so that the recovery process to get all the aspects back on track is still on and unfortunately we have not been able to get things back to normal.
Interestingly, flood threats after the 2014 deluge are been taken seriously, albeit by the common people only. The government seems to be sleeping on the issue. Lots of statements from ministers and government functionaries did come that dredging of river Jhelum and opening up of various flood channels will be prioritized. But all these statement restricted to papers only.
There was no serious effort done by the concerned to ensure the dredging and opening of flood channels is done in a time bound manner. The dredging works in Jhelum have been going on at a snail’s pace and the opening of flood channels has not even been taken up.
This being not enough, various corruption charges have surfaced vis-à-vis the entire dredging process and the way the whole issue has been handled.
What we are made to believe is that an intelligence wing of the police has prepared a report of how the entire process of dredging has been skewed up to benefit some top functionaries. However, the issue has not been taken seriously by the incumbent government and those who should have been held accountable for this criminal negligence are roaming free.
The flood threats should have been taken on priority as various expert groups have already warned of floods in near future.
Reports emerging from an economic survey have indicated that Kashmir Valley is going to witness drastic changes on the environmental front. Importantly, one of the main reasons for this change is believed to be the unmindful waste of our forest reserves.