Sluggish dredging of Jhelum

We have suffered immense human and material loss in 2014 floods. We cannot afford to suffer any more.

Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 19 2018 10:57PM | Updated Date: Jan 19 2018 10:57PM

The slow dredging of river Jhelum has again been raised— this time by the legislators in the J&K Legislative Assembly who sought constitution of a House Committee to look into the matter. The demand is worth consideration given the massive scale of damage that was caused by the 2014 floods in Kashmir. There can be no two opinions on this matter particularly when we have some rich analytical data available with us suggesting that any slackness shown in the dredging process could have serious consequences for the entire public life in Kashmir. Pertinently, a government of India panel in the wake of 2014 floods went deep into the reasons making Kashmir susceptible to floods. The panel had said that topography of Kashmir made it vulnerable to deluges. By highlighting certain factors that exacerbated the flood situation in Kashmir, the report had by and large endorsed the concerns expressed time and again by the local experts and ecologists vis-a-vis the fall in the carrying capacity of river Jhelum and its outfall channel. It is unfortunate that the successive governments have done little to address this issue. From 1986 till very recently, for example, no dredging was carried out in the outflow channel resulting into the drastic reduction in its carrying capacity from 17000 cusec to 3531 cusec. Similarly, no effective steps were taken to increase the flow velocity in the 96 kilometre Sangum-Wular mild slope stretch of river Jehlum. The committee had made a number of suggestions dividing them into three categories depending upon their implementation time. It suggested short-term, long-term and measures of immediate nature. In the immediate measures it had proposed was to plug all breaches of river Jhelum. The government without losing any further time should immediately act on such suggestions and take effective steps in this regard. Any sluggishness or delay on the part of the government could prove detrimental to the Kashmir. We have suffered immense human and material loss in 2014 floods. We cannot afford to suffer any more.

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