Rs. Four Cr sanctioned for concerned Deptts. to deal with challenging situations aimed at ensuring uninterrupted services

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Srinagar: In view of the inclement weather forecast predicting snowfall between November 14 and 16 in the district as elsewhere in Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary Tuesday convened a meeting with heads of different departments to review their preparedness.

The meeting discussed the plans of concerned departments that have been prepared on the instructions of the DC to prevent interruption in services during future snowfalls in the district.

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The DC while hailing their efforts after last week’s unforeseen snowfall in the district asked all the concerned departments to ensure faster and wider dealing with inclement weather situation as forecast and immediate services restorations wherever required.

Concerned departments including Mechanical Engineering Department, Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Roads & Buildings, Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Fire & Emergency Department were provided 5 lakh rupees each for acquiring gear to equip their ground staff involved in restoration efforts for dealing with harsh conditions.

The Power department was also provided with 2 crore rupees including 50 lakh rupees for each of its four divisions to procure buffer stock of transformers to handle situations where transformers are damaged. In addition to this 10 lakh rupees including 2.5 lakh for each of its divisions was provided to the department for handling restorations.

The PHE department was also provided an additional 10 lakh rupees to facilitate immediate restoration of damaged infrastructure when required.

The Drainage division of SMC was provided an additional 15 lakh rupees for fuel expenses for operating dewatering pumping stations during exigencies. The Health department was also provided an amount of 5 lakh rupees for procuring fuel for power generators – already provided to several health institutions – required during snowfall-caused power outages.

Fourteen lakh rupees including two lakh rupees each were provided to Tehsildars to provide for their mobility requirements during times of exigencies.

The departments were instructed to equip their staff and activate them immediately. They were asked to project any further demands but were asked to show results.

The DC directed for ensuring that snow clearance machines are positioned at all critical spots and that these must be pressed into service as soon as snow starts to accumulate. He stressed on prioritising snow-clearance from roads leading to all important installations across the district. The R&B was asked to work in close coordination with the SMC as long as the weather situation lasts.

The meeting was informed that both the MED and the SMC are geared up with the former with 23 snowplows and the latter with some 4000 personnel and 22 JCBs including 2 skid-steers at their disposal for snow-clearance on all main roads and pedestrian lanes across Srinagar.

It was also informed that all of 80 dewatering stations and 115 mobile pumping stations in the city are operational and that all concerned personnel have been sensitised. The F&ES department has also kept some of its pool of fire tenders and portable fire pumps available for water-logging exigencies in case there is a need.

Dr Shahid said water-logging as a result of snowfall or rains throws a major challenge in the district and that the concerned departments must be well-prepared to deal with it. He instructed for ensuring quick draining-out of water-logged areas including all interior roads and lanes.

He also instructed the SMC to remove the accumulated snow from roadsides which he said leads to traffic hurdles. He also instructed the Forest department to undertake immediate pruning of trees and lifting fallen trees and broken branches to facilitate road clearance and power restoration efforts.

He directed all the concerned departments to be in a state of preparedness and responsive to any crisis thrown up anywhere in the district.

The meeting was also informed that a central disaster management response store has been established at Bemina with a designated nodal officer to handle its affairs.

Dr Shahid directed for thorough implementation of all instructions and their respective plans in order to ensure timely and coordinated redress of problems and eventualities presented during the inclement weather situation. He directed for ensuring presence of all ground staff and concerned officers right till the end of the weather situation.

He directed for setting up control rooms in all concerned departments instructing them to provide real-time update about status of restorations. He said that a central control room will be set up which will oversee the overall operations ensuring coordination and organisation during eventualities.

The DC said there is a need to put in place a comprehensive mechanism that will ensure prevention of interruption in essential services because of snowfall in the district. He said the process has been started and a mechanism ensuring preparedness at all times and avoidance of services interruption in all circumstances will be put in place soon.

The meeting also took stock of restoration after last week’s snowfall. He directed the concerned for immediate assessment of losses to public properties and crops and for quick processing of compensations as due.

ADCs Srinagar M Hanief Balkhi and Khurshid Shah and senior officers from all line departments attended the meeting. Joint Director Planning Srinagar M Yaseen Lone was also present.