Even after 22 days, the J&K government remained clueless about what led to water discharge in Jehlum river swell to historic and unprecedented 1.20 lakh cusec against average discharge of 25,000 cusec on September 6-7, which left 70 percent of Srinagar flooded and state administration crippled.
"There are evidences of cloudbursts in streams of south Kashmir. Phir raat ko kay huva, woh nahi patta (don't know what happened in the night then)," said state chief secretary Muhammaf Iqbal Khanday, who faced tough questions and hostile media on Monday in Srinagar.
The government failed to come up with any data or scientific explanation on why the water level kept rising despite the state flood and irrigation department assuring people of water likely to go down on September 7 as water levels in south Kashmir's Sangam water gauge was showing four-five feet dip in level.
In 1992 floods, Jhelum discharge was at 65,000 cusec only.
In times of contour mapping and recorded satellite imagery, the government skirted off the criticism on failing to deduct right data and right flood warning saying "expert opinion is sought to understand what happened".
The state officials are also looking into construction of railway lines and highways in south Kashmir that may have added to flooding in several areas by retaining huge levels of water in low-lying basins. "Experts will look into these issues," said Khanday.
Ironically, the government added that dredging of channels and spill canals would have helped to retain flood water to a great extent. Khanday said, "The government report seeking Rs 2200 crore for carrying dredging and other safety activities for prevention of floods in Kashmir was still pending with the Union government."
He claimed that only Rs 97 crore was spent on the project, while Rs 2200 crore were requisition.
“Had the project been sanctioned, Jhelum and the flood channels that retained 35,000 to 50,000 cusecs of water would collectively have retained 1.20 lakh cusecs of water, which was the discharge of the flood,” the chief secretary said.
In 2010, former minister for public health engineering and flood control Taj Mohuiddin, holding medical portfolio now, prepared a report seeking Rs 2200 crore from Union government to contain likely massive floods in Kashmir.
On accusation of the government failure to open Kandizaal embankment and gates of Dal Lake, the chief secretary said, "It is not true that politicians did not allow breach of bunds at some places although at some places they may have but the river breached naturally,” he said.