Jhelum to be breached to drain out water

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2014 19:04 IST

As the flood water in Kashmir is turning fetid, the state government has decided to breach the banks of Jhelum at strategic points to let water flow back into the river.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday.

"The irrigation department has been assigned the responsibility of dewatering. It has been decided that the Jhelum will be breached in the specific areas so that the water can be drained back into the river. This is likely to take two to three days,'' said Rinzin Jora, minister for urban development and urban local bodies.

With over 1.5 lakh people still stranded in the partly-submerged homes in Srinagar, dewatering of the city remains a priority for the government.

Even a week after the Jhelum caused massive floods in the Valley, Srinagar has turned into a cesspool where roads have been transformed into stagnant canals strewn with wreckage, trash and dead animals.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation which is the urban body responsible for dewatering the city says that out of 72 dewatering stations, only eight are functional. "Rest of the pumping stations are deluged and will be functional after the water recedes,'' said joint commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Bashir Ahmad.

"We received four pumps for dewatering from the central government, but they did not have the suitable pipes which are awaited,'' he added.

According to Ahmad, the pumps are of high capacity and can suck out water from one feet diameter.
"Once these are functional, conditions will improve. Our first priority is the areas around the important hospitals, like SKIMS Bemina, Lal Ded hospital and places like the secretariat,'' he added.
According to Ahmad, sanitation is a major challenge.

"We have cleaned 50% garbage out of the areas which were not inundated by water. The rest is still left out," he said.

The government is battling to prevent waterborne diseases, like cholera from spreading as fetid water swelled around the Kashmir Valley more than a week after the worst flooding in more than a century.

Dead animals and heaps of garbage are lined up clogging lanes and bylanes making them the epicentre of diseases.

Meanwhile, the vehicular traffic to Valley has been restored through three national highways of Mughal Road, Srinagar-Jammu and Kishtwar-Sinthan link, facilitating the resumption of supplies in large scale.

According to an official statement, chief minister Omar Abdullah is closely monitoring the situation and holding daily review meeting with senior officials. Abdullah, the government spokesman said, has been stressing on providing immediate succour to the flood-affected people by way of providing ration, safe drinking water, blankets, tents, medicine etc, besides intensifying the dewatering and sanitation process in the inundated areas, especially in the Srinagar city.

The government spokesman said that flood water in many waterlogged localities in Srinagar is being drained into natural channels through high volume suction pumps and cuts, followed by massive clean-up drive. Scores of animal carcasses have also been properly disposed of on war footing. The water supply has also been restored in major parts of the valley.

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