SRINAGAR: National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar on Friday slammed the administration for its failure to handle the situation following rains that lashed Kashmir.
While expressing concern over the widespread inundation of low lying areas across Kashmir especially the Srinagar city, Sagar said that the failure of the government to carry out routine desolation of drains was one of the reasons why the low lying areas took no time to get inundated. “As part of new normal which is in vogue at present the government has not taken a comprehensive review on civic conditions across Kashmir including that of the Summer Capital itself, the present situation is an outcome of the continued negligence of the administration. Previously also the administration had miserably failed to live up to the expectations of the people during the preceding winter months. It has become a routine of the bureaucracy which has its hands on the helms of power in Jammu and Kashmir, to respond in a reactionary manner rather than having emergency plans in place to deal with such weather vagaries,” he said.
Remarking on the failure of the government to upgrade the present urban infrastructure in Kashmir, he said the number of pump stations across Kashmir have seen no increase to meet the demands of the population across the city. He stated that the situation in the heart of the city, the Lal Chowk and other urban nerve centres around it debunked the tall claims of the concerned agencies on the so-called renaissance of Srinagar.
The blacktopping which was carried out during the autumn months last year didn’t even last for a fortnight and wore down within a few days after being laid leading to in numerous potholes, depressions, and cracks, he added. The tons of slush and run off on city roads can help us gauge the gravity of problems faced by people in rural areas across Kashmir, he said.
He said the Phased flood management plan on river Jhelum despite huge budgetary allocations and approvals was yet to pick up on the ground. “The work was supposed to be done on war-footing seeing the devastation the 2014 deluge wrecked on the entire populace. But the government seems to have dumped the mega project. The annual desolation and dredging of the small rivulets, ponds, swamps, irrigation canals and lagoons in Srinagar and elsewhere is not on the to-do list of the government. The entire population of Srinagar and other low-lying areas across Kashmir are living on a knife-edge,” he said.
“It is not surprising to see Srinagar being adjudged the most unlivable city in the country according to the government’s ease of living index released a few days ago. The rank of Jammu city on the livability index is at 27th spot as compared to Srinagar which has been downgraded to 49th spot. The much-touted idea of transforming Srinagar city into a smart city has not picked up momentum and is yet only confined to papers. The concerned wings of the government have miserably failed to address the challenges hindering the daily lives of the urban populace of Srinagar at the first place, not to speak of transforming it. The idea of transforming a city partially inundated, dotted with potholes worn-out road; bereft of any denudation and up-to-date waste disposal mechanism seems to be farfetched,” he said.