The great 2014 deluge: Six years on, flood mitigation plan stuck in red tape

The great 2014 deluge: Six years on, flood mitigation plan stuck in red tape

FIRDOUS HASSAN

Srinagar: Ghost of 2014 floods continue to haunt the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
More than 200 people lost their lives in the deluge that swept across Kashmir on September 7, 2014. The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir suffered over Rs one lakh crore loss in the floods.
Post-2014, as many as 10 flood warnings have been issued by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department in Kashmir.
Even the government’s flood mitigation plan, which was announced soon after the 2014 deluge, is yet to be completed.
The plan, which focused on increasing the carrying capacity of river Jhelum and its tributaries at an estimated cost of Rs 1623 crore, is still in its first phase.
The second phase is stuck in the red tape. The project awaits clearance from union ministries of Water Resources, and Finance.
“Phase one will be completed by the end of this year for which Rs 1623 crore has been released by the government. We have studied the mathematical model of phase II, which was approved by the government in February this year. Once we receive Inter-ministerial clearance, the work on the second phase will begin,” said Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo, Chief Engineer Irrigation, and Flood Control (I&FC).
Another project of the flood mitigation plan, which included the construction of 80-km Dogripora channel, from south Kashmir’s Awantipora to Wular Lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district has yet to see the light of the day.
In December 2014, the Union Ministry of Water Resources had asked the then state government to frame a detailed project report (DPR) of Dogripora channel widening. Officials, however, said the viability of the project is still being studied by the department.
“It is a long term concept and will be included in Jhelum Tawi Flood recovery project. A consultancy was hired and it is being studied currently. We have to assess the project technically and see whether it is feasible,” Kakroo said.
Similarly, increasing the carrying capacity of Wular Lake’s absorbing basin has not been completed yet. Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WCMA) is currently de-weeding the lake, which the sources said, will take another two years.
“More than 58000 willow trees have been felled. Another 1, 30,000 are to be cut in the next two years. The government is working to conserve Wular Lake and increase its carrying capacity,” an official said. (The Kashmir Monitor)

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