Lack of funds hit desilting of drains in Srinagar

Officials said in this regard, divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan also held meeting in which he directed deputy commissioner, Srinagar to monitor the progress of de-silting of drains.

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 18 2018 1:28AM | Updated Date: Aug 18 2018 1:28AM
Lack of funds hit desilting of drains in SrinagarPhoto: Aman Farooq/GK

While the government claims of spending crores of rupees for Srinagar’s development, it has failed to allocate Rs nine crore for de-silting of drainage network in the summer capital to prevent water-logging. 

A senior officer of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) said that annual de-silting proposal has been prepared involving a cost of Rs nine crore, “but due to non-availability of the funds, the proposal could not materialize.”

“It is unfortunate that the funds were not allocated for de-silting of drainage network as the choked drains block water flow during rainfall. This results in water-logging mainly in commercial hub Lal Chowk and low lying areas,” he said.

Officials said in this regard, divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan also held meeting in which he directed deputy commissioner, Srinagar to monitor the progress of de-silting of drains.

During the meeting, divisional commissioner was informed that Srinagar has 80 static gravity based dewatering pumps . The design capacity of the dewatering pumps is 860 lakh litres to cater to the downpour of 12-15 mm per hour.

However, he was informed on 7th August, Srinagar received 35 mm of rains per hour, as reported by MET department. Officials said this was beyond carrying capacity of these dewatering pumps.

As per minutes of the meeting, SMC will map out the areas prone to inundation due to choking of drains and also map out the drains which require immediate de-silting.  SMC was also directed to prepare calendar for desilting of the drains in the sequence of priority and start the work on de-silting of the drains within one week.

The state government has set up a target of achieving 90 percent ‘proper’ drainage system in Srinagar in the next five years with the financial assistance of the World Bank and a centrally sponsored scheme. The state government had taken over hundreds of drainage schemes in Kashmir over the years. Most of them could not be completed due to lack of funds.

Now under the centrally sponsored scheme-Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and with the financial assistance of the World Bank, the government said 90 percent ‘proper’ drainage system will be in place in Srinagar by 2021.

A senior official said that presently only 37 percent Srinagar city has drainage system. Under AMRUT scheme, the centre will provide Rs 390 crore in the next five years for drainage system in Srinagar and Rs 300 crore will be from the World Bank project for it.

The Srinagar city has poor drainage system that was in place a decade ago. The lack of drainages ystem always poses a serious threat of water logging in Kashmir even by the average downpour. It has been learnt that around 500 drainage schemes were started over the years in Kashmir but less than 200 have been completed while work on other schemes have been stopped due to non-releasing of funds.

Sources said the lack of coordination between different departments was one of the main reasons for non-improvisation of drainage system.

Ironically, state government has put the Rs 132 crore drainage project begun a decade back on the back burner.

It was in 2008, the state government awarded the contract for developing drainage system to central public sector undertaking, National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

The PSU was scheduled to complete the laying of drainage system in 5 years’ time i.e. 2013. However, sluggish approach and lack of monitoring resulted that even after the passing of 10 years, the project is yet to be completed.

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