Structural safety a challenge

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi and Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2014 01:05 IST

The Kashmir administration’s big challenge after flood waters recede is ensuring the structural safety of buildings weakened by days of submersion following the state’s worst flooding in 60 years.

Thousands of people will have to live in relief camps until the administration pumps out water from vast swathes of land and their homes are reinforced after the damage suffered in the devastating floods.

“The real test for the administration will be now,” said a geological expert at the disaster management institute, who did not want to be identified. “As the water dries the structures become unstable and they can collapse. The local bodies will have to identify them and install reinforcements. All the steps will have to be taken in a quick succession”.

Experts said restoring the drainage system and strengthening embankments were the main priorities once floods waters recede after the deluge which appeared to have taken the administration by surprise.

“It is extremely essential to restore drainage and de-watering system. Srinagar has underground drains and these are linked to de-watering pumps which are defunct,” said Salim Beg, a former bureaucrat of the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Beg also said one lesson the state government should learn from the floods was training its police force in disaster management. A large number of police personnel don’t know how to swim and could be seen seeking help rather than helping others.

Centre to supply drinking water
Facing an acute shortage of drinking water, the government has decided to supply the state with 25 lakh litres of packaged water.

The ministry of drinking water and supply on Friday placed an advertisement asking for companies dealing with packaged drinking water to quote their rates.

“We will wrap up the process of selecting the company by Saturday and start supplying water by Monday,” a government official said. To provide immediate access to drinking water, the ministry intends to supply 50,000 litres per day in one litre bottles. The ministry has also asked other states to deploy their mobile water purification system in the state to supplement its efforts.

(with inputs from HT Correspondent in New Delhi)

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