The problem of recurrent floods in Jammu and Kashmir has been a permanent feature in the history but it was last year that real devastation occurred which shook the very foundation of the state. While it is difficult to face a natural calamity but the flood in Srinagar last year was unfortunately a man made tragedy which was more the failure of the state and the civil society than anything else.
The real problem is that despite the major tragedy last year, none of the stakeholder in the state has learned anything from the past mistakes.
Like last year the water level rose incessantly in Jehlum and it led to panic in Srinagar with people abandoning their homes and hearths in low lying areas. People rushed out of their homes in Rajbagh, Padshahibagh, Soetang Shivpora, Sonwar, Jawahar Nagar, Gogji Bagh, Mehjoor Nagar and Bemina all of which are long Jehlum. There were alarms raised in nearby districts as well due to breaches caused in Jehlum at several places as diversions and bridges were washed away.
The rain fortunately stopped after 48 hours but had it continued, and kept flooding the Jehlum than another disaster could have happened like last year. The reason for flooding of the city is that there are several obstructions which have been constructed which force the river water to change its course. Several dry areas are thus formed which have been encroached but the authorities have failed to check this illegal activity which has deformed the river system. Despite court orders the land sharks have been able to evade the long arm of law and the result is that entire city is threatened by floods. The irrigation department, the flood control department, and the forest department along with civic agencies have not been able to make much headaway to prevent flooding in the city.
Another important reason is that water bodies in the city are either encroached or not have been desilted for long as a result of which the flood channels and other distributaries are blocked. It is because of the reverse flow of strong water currents that the bund is breached as it cant stand the flood. There is need for dredging the entire Jehlum river, along with water bodies to safeguard the city and other areas from man made floods.