Hours of downpour exposes claims of flood preparedness in Kashmir: Tarigami

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Srinagar

CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said a few hours of a downpour on Thursday once again exposed the hollow claims of flood preparedness in Kashmir. A spell of heavy showers in the morning caused water-logging in many places in the Valley and capital Srinagar city as well. Several localities in the city were submerged in rainwater on Thursday.

On July 25, Rains lash Kashmir valley, MeT predicts more, KL image by Umar Mukhtar

The spokesman said that Veshu Nallah in Kulgam district, one of the high-gradient tributaries in the upstream of Jhelum River needs immediate flood-control measures to mitigate the threat downstream. To reduce to the velocity of floodwaters and slow down and stagger the flood peak of the Veshu during high magnitude floods which results in the flooding of the south Kashmir and downstream, it is necessary to take appropriate measures in the entire Veshu basin, particularly in the mountainous watersheds.

Heavy Rains: Dewatering stations installed in Srinagar parts on July 25, 2019

For short-term and long-term flood mitigation in Kulgam district, it is important to identify on priority various engineering and non-engineering measures to reduce the risk of the people and infrastructure in the district to flooding. Any flood control and mitigation measures for Veshu nallah will have inter-alia ameliorating impacts on the flood scenario at Sangam and downstream in the Jhelum basin.

There is the possibility of construction of a dam or cascade of barrages just downstream of the Aharbal fall, to mitigate the flood situation not in the district, but in Kashmir. The construction of concrete/earthen levee on both sides of the Vishu nallah is a necessary long-term flood protection measure for reducing the risk of the people living in the district to flooding.

A file image of Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

However, a short term measure, the river training works in the form of laying out crate wires, stone pitching, spurs, retaining walls etc are immediately required along the vulnerable sections of the nallah, where breaches have been observed in the recent flooding. This is required to protect the adjoining villages that are vulnerable to flooding due to the likely breach or change of river course.

There is also a need for launching massive afforestation programs in the district through Forest Department involving panchayats, schools and other relevant agencies.

We hope these measures will be taken on priority as even a day’s rainfall brings Kashmir on the brink of floods, the spokesman added.

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