Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Lal Sharma Wednesday rejected the reports that breach of traditional Kandzal embankment would have saved Srinagar city during recent catastrophic floods.
Talking to KNS he took strong exception to the reports that inordinate delay by the state government to breach traditional Kandzal embankment of river Jhelum submerged Srinagar city. “The gauge at Sangam was already under the flood waters and it was for the first time in the history of the region that Jehlum breached through both the sides. Kandizal would not have helped at that time as the water was flowing in most unexpected quantity and the place itself was under the 25ft of flood waters,” he said.
“We have the capacity of 40 thousand cusecs and we got around three lakh and twenty thousand cusecs of water. How could Kandizal breach in such situation help us?” he asked.
The minister said that water on September 3 had crossed the danger level in Jehlum at three places and situation near Zero Bridge Srinagar was already alarming. “Between the night of 3-4 September at 11.30, I received a call from Chief Engineer Irrigation that the situation is turning turbulent near Zero Bridge. I asked him to inform Div Com, DC, SSP so that alert to the people living in adjoining areas could be sounded,” he said.
“I reached the spot at 12 in the night. The water was flowing with a full speed,” Sharma recalled and said people in low lying areas of Srinagar city including Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh, Lasjan and other areas were warned to move out of their houses.
“Some bureaucrats called me urging not to panic the locals as floods would never occur in the city. I told them that the situation is indeed alarming as the waters have crossed the danger mark in the river,” Shamra said.
The minister added that CM arrived near Zero Bridge at 7.30 in the morning on September 4 and along with the senior officers of the state administration, a meeting at Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar was convened at 9 in the morning. “After the meeting, myself and the chief minister went to take the outer view of the city. There was 3 feet water in Barzulla area and Panthachowk was inundated as the rains didn’t stop. I told the chief minister that it seems that the rains would not stop and speedy measures need to be taken on priority,” he said.
Sharma maintained that on September 5, the situation turned alarming in Jammu region as the flash floods created havoc. “We travelled to Jammu and took stock of the situation there.”
However, the minister remarked that Wullar saved north Kashmir as the intake capacity of the lake increased due to the recent dredging. He added that the area of the lake is 190 sq kms and large quantity of water was drifted towards the lake which saved the north Kashmir. “Had it not been Wullar, north Kashmir would also have been drowned.”