How many wakeup calls does one need to finally wake up? In most of the cases one is enough. But in Kashmir context, especially when people at the helm of affairs are involved, even a loud bang on the door or a kick is not enough. After record dry winter spell rains are back to haunt. Yes, since September 2014 floods, rains are no more associated with fabled blessings, rather they come with a certain degree of fear factor for the tormented populace. Even four days of continuous rainfall sends us running towards Jhelum shores quick report on its raising levels. This year too, after four days of non-stop rainfall, everybody, irrespective of his suffering in last floods was seen looking heavenwards hoping for an end to rains. Reason, government has failed to raise dykes, dredge the river, or increase its questionable carrying capacity in almost eighteen months. Instead, authorities played it cool, and kept their fingers crossed hoping that nothing of September 2014 sorts will happen again. But is their calculation right, will it not happen again. Not at all. Because since September 2014 floods Jhelum river has crossed danger mark at least twice and flooded almost entire low lying belt on both sides from Khanabal to Srinagar. At both instances, another flood was almost looking at us quite threateningly. But even then authorities didn’t take it as a wakeup call and played cool. They counted on God’s mercy rather stay prepared to face His curse. Have they invested a bit of time and exchequers money on repairing bunds, or state of art dredging machines, they employed outdated methods like using sandbags when water was already at their feet.
Take for instance the condition of bund in Pampore and Srinagar – both worst affected areas during September 2014 floods – and you will be shocked to see how carelessly, rather dangerously bunds look vulnerable in face of even normal non-stop rainfall of March. At Pampore there are still at least three spots that need immediate attention of authorities so that a 2014 repeat is avoided. But nobody seems to care at all. The said spot is right on the highway that facilitates movement of all VVIPs to and fro from South to Centre to North. But nobody seems to look out of their tinted car windows while zooming past.
In not so recent past, March meant rainfall that people waited eagerly. But now even a single drop of water from the sky sends people in cautious mode. They know that they cannot afford to sleep peacefully because those who are supposed to fix problems for them are sleeping!
With new government just round the corner, let’s hope that this time, rather than playing with people’s emotions and crying hoax about flood compensation, they try to fix the bugs. Let’s role some heads for sake of a safe and secure future.
Else we will end up in deep waters, quite literally. And there will be no way out this time around. Because nobody helps the one who doesn’t help himself!