henever it rains, horrific thoughts of the 2014 floods start haunting and the question that the people here start asking each other is that why no worthwhile steps are taken to save Kashmir from this perpetual threat of floods. Since the rainfall is now intermittent we can expect a reprieve in the coming weeks or months. However, what if the rains had not stopped? What if it had rained for three more days? We are not saying anything unusual. Contiguous rainfall is a part and parcel of March weather in Kashmir. Where is our preparedness?
While the administration was vocal after the Floods of 2014 that such an unprecedented would not arise again. What happened to that promise? Where is the dredging work in the existing flood Channel? If we are not wrong there was a talk of an alternate flood Channel which could provide safety to the citizens. What happened to that proposal? What about the dredging work in river Jhelum itself? How much percentage work was completed on that?
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Mainly, there are two major reasons behind the flood vulnerability of the Kashmir valley – first is, the inadequate carrying capacity of the river Jhelum from Sangam (Anantnag) to Khandanyar (Baramulla), and second one, the natural flat topography of the Jhelum basin. As people and communities are almost the first respondents in any natural disaster, comprehensive community-based disaster risk reduction plans need to be prepared at the district level on priority and communities given training on how to handle such emergencies. Several Indian states already have such trained community response teams, even the people in general need to understand that it is for the sake of the future generations that we need to take care of the water bodies. We need to desist from polluting rivers, and lakes. The concerned government departments need to undertake massive public awareness campaigns to popularise the efficient methods to harvest rain water.
The government needs to be on a high alert to save life and property. The people also stop bothering about dredging in the dry periods which is not an ideal thing. The government is accountable to people in this manner. The residents of uptown Srinagar are at the highest risks. The establishment is toying with the lives of people by developing a lackadaisical approach towards tackling flood threats.
At the same time we pray that the rains stop and we have some sunny days. Hopefully, summer this year should be known for a season of peak activity and certainly not for spawning Floods.