Srinagar, Jun 30: On Friday evening, when the Jhelum crossed the danger level, the government issued a flood advisory asking people to be vigilant.
Many families from the flood-prone areas shifted to safer areas as the water level in the Jhelum kept rising.
The shopkeepers in several areas started moving out goods from their shops.
This has become a common phenomenon in Kashmir in the aftermath of 2014 floods. As soon as the water level rises in the Jhelum even with moderate rainfall, people fear a deluge.
At the same time, the government has not taken any preventive measures to avoid such situations, as the valley had been at the verge of floods several times in the last three areas.
Professor Shakil Romshoo, an earth scientist, who conducted a detailed study on the devastating deluge that hit Kashmir in September 2014, posted on Facebook, “As long as we don’t embark upon a mission to identify emerging and long-term critical issues facing the state, (all environmental, disasters, social, economic and political), analyze the challenges using evidence-based knowledge, involving a wide range of expertise and prescribe strategies for addressing them through perspective planning, we are bound to suffer for all eternity and pay heavily time and again for our callousness and adhocism.”
Romshoo, who has been critical of government for failing to increase the carrying capacity, said, “There is need for setting up a policy ‘Think Tank’ providing direction and guidance to informed policy making for short- and long-term development plans in the state. Is it really ever going to happen here given the misplaced priorities of the successive governments and the rampant societal numbness?”
In the backdrop of 2014 floods, the government announced that it would take several measures to prevent floods.
“Nothing has been done in these years, except dredging at few spots and refilling of patches of Jhelum’s embankments, which were washed by 2014 floods,” an official of Irrigation and Flood Control Department said, wishing not to be quoted by name. “The department did nothing in this regard. Government at the top level has to take some measures. The government also announced of removing constructions along the Jhelum, but a big shopping mall is being constructed in flood channel.”
A study titled ‘A satellite-based rapid assessment on floods in Jammu & Kashmir–September, 2014’ conducted jointly by the Department of Environment & Remote Sensing (DERS) and ISRO has warned that intensity of rainfall and frequency of rainy days in the Himalayan region may increase in 2030s, leading to another flood in Kashmir if immediate steps are not taken to restore the drainage system of Jhelum.
According to a disaster management report, 13 districts in J&K out of 100 districts in India have been identified as ‘multi hazard districts’.
The I&FC official said that Wular Lake, which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to host of factors. “Several surveys have found that gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, chocking of water ways and reduction in capacity of wet lands due to heavy siltation posing an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour,” the official said.
After 2014 deluge, the government had announced that dredging of river Jhelum would be completed by December 2016 to prevent floods in future. Although the dredging work has been started but was going at slow pace. It has been stalled for the last several months.
Government has also announced that an alternate flood channel would be constructed of Jhelum in Kashmir to prevent Valley from floods.
The Union Ministry of Water Resources in December 2014 asked the state government for framing of the DPR for the 80-km Dogripora channel to be constructed from Awantipora in south Kashmir to Wular lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
“But during the last over three years, the detailed project report could not be framed,” the official said.
Another project was reconstruction of river Jhelum embankments that had crumbled at various places by 2014 floods.
On Friday and Saturday, locals were seen tending to Jhelum embankments at several places by placing sand bags to stop water from entering into the residential areas as these bunds were weakened by the floods in the past.
A police official said that banks of river Jhelum got breached at various places due to rising water level.
“Empty sand bags already issued by district police to various subordinate units were put into use and repair works were taken up at almost all the points to prevent the water flow in civilian areas,” the police official said.
Chief Engineer I&FC, Muhammad Shahnawaz, said that measures were being taken to prevent Valley floods. “I can tell you as we are busy with the current situation. We will discuss it later,” Shahnawaz said.
In July 2015, the first-ever disaster management plan was approved by the cabinet headed by the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. However, official said there has been no implementation of the disaster management plan.
“The government has failed to equip the agencies that could deal with disasters to mitigate sufferings of people at a time when any natural calamity hit the state. No work has been started for its implementation and it has been confined to papers,” an official of Revenue and Rehabilitation department said.
In 2012, two battalions of auxiliary forces were converted into State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). However, the SDRF is still ill-equipped and its forces are not in a position to deal with any emergency at the time of any natural calamity. “Its men have also been assigned other duties like security,” an official of SDRF said.
GMC admits: Patients referred to Srinagar attended by juniors
Srinagar, Jan 21: The Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Monday acknowledged that the patients referred to its associated hospitals in Srinagar are being treated by junior doctors.
A circular by Principal GMC, Dr Samia Rashid said it had come to her notice that “patients referred from various district, sub-district hospitals and peripheries for specialised treatment in Associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar are being attended by Junior Residents without taking advice and consultation from their Registrars and Consultants on emergency duty.”
The circular asked the head of departments and units to ensure that referral patients are only seen by registrars or senior residents on emergency duty.
“The head of the departments and units are also impressed upon to ensure that Consultants on emergency duty…should make periodic rounds on their emergency day and take final evening round in emergency areas. Registrars and other resident staff on emergency duty should note down their advice in respect of patients admitted,” the circular reads.
The GMC Principal, as per the circular, asked the medical superintendents of the associated hospitals to monitor the work of Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) and Casualty Medical Officer (CMOs).
“…check whether they are discharging their duties as per their job profile…take necessary disciplinary action against the RMO/CMO who fails to discharge their assigned duties.”
The GMC circular follows the Thursday’s incident in which a pregnant woman, who was referred from Kupwara to Lal Ded hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on road when the doctor on duty refused to admit her.
The baby delivered in sub-zero temperatures died soon after.
Facing flak, the hospital ordered a probe immediately, which, eventually, concluded: “The doctor with her clinical assessment/USG findings did not anticipate the precipitate delivery in her, although unfortunately the doctor on duty went against the SOP for referrals by not admitting the patient.”
No negligence will be tolerated: Adv Kumar
Jammu, Jan 21: Taking a serious note of alleged mishandling of a pregnant lady from District Kupwara at L. D Hospital, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar Monday conveyed his sympathies with the affected family and assured a thorough enquiry into the unfortunate incident.
Chairing a high level meeting in this regard attended by Principal Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dullo; Principal, GMCs of Srinagar and Jammu; Directors of Health Services of Kashmir & Jammu besides Medical Superintendents of several hospitals the Advisor informed that the Governor has instructed that Hospital authorities across the State should strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) in the case of referrals to tertiary care hospitals adding that no negligence in observing these SoPs would be tolerated in future.
He said maintaining high standards of health care delivery to the citizens of the State should be observed at all costs and that the Governor’s Administration is committed to fill in all the existing gaps of manpower, equipment and infrastructure to strengthen the primary healthcare system across the State.
The Advisor sought recommendations to identify the lapses and gaps so that such incidents do not take place in future. He directed the Principal GMC Srinagar and Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir/ Jammu to identify Nodal Officers who shall solely be responsible for streamlining the referrals from primary and secondary health care institutions to tertiary care hospitals in the State.
He said that directions have been issued as part of the ‘Auditing Mechanism’ that doctor’s prescription shall be inscribed with seal/ stamp mentioning name and credentials of the prescribing and referring doctor so that responsibilities can be fixed in any eventuality.
‘Bukhari tried to sell PDP for his personal gains’
Srinagar, Jan 21: Refuting that Altaf Bukhari’s name was at any point suggested as an interim president of the party, Vice President Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Rahman Veeri on Monday said that seeking “self-promotion through illicit, undemocratic and unethical measures” was Bukhari’s sole agenda in PDP.
Veeri, in a statement, said that across the state, party functionaries, workers and activists en-masse support Mehbooba Mufti in her every endeavour to get the state out of the present cycle of violence.
“Every person associated with the PDP has witnessed how amid the tumultuous times Mehbooba Mufti built the party brick by brick and made it a guiding force in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape,” Veeri said.
He added that in spite of taking over in very trying circumstances, PDP president ran the government with “integrity and caliber”.
“However, she was back-stabbed by some people especially Altaf Bukhari,” he said.
Veeri said that by giving out his desire to become PDP President, Bukhari had “exposed his real agenda which he initiated within days after Mufti saheb’s death.”
“For that he even made Nagpur Yatra in a bid to seek their blessings for forming the government at the cost of party and state interest. Ever since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he tried to grab the party and sell it out for promotion of his personal ambitions,” said Veeri.
The PDP Vice President stated further that every person is now aware that when party President Mehbooba Mufti was standing firm before the government of India, Bukhari even went up to Nagpur to offer his services as an alternative. “Such action of his sabotaged the agenda of alliance and the negotiations Mehbooba Mufti was having with the government of India, demanding implementation of specific points in the agenda of alliance as a precondition for taking over as the Chief Minister of the state,” Veeri said.
The PDP veteran added that even when the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti was formed in April 2016, a clear signal was given to Bukhari as he was dropped from the cabinet. It was later, according to Veeri, on assurances of good conduct from Bukhari that his position was restored.
He said that the ousted leader had no problem with the party till the government was in place and he begun inventing issues soon after the dissolution of assembly.
“Till the dissolution, Bukhari had the hopes of getting the government back. Though, till then, he was behaving like a party man but his one foot was in PDP and his soul and spirit were with all other parties except PDP. He was in contact with the outlaws and even made hectic efforts to instigate rebellion within the party,” Veeri said, adding that soon after dissolution of assembly, Bukhari saw only one way of finishing the PDP and that was by taking over as president and he openly told some party leaders that he wants to take over as a prize for him to stay in the party.
“He had a one point agenda and that was to take over the party and sell it out for promoting his political and other interests. Now exposed, he is openly declaring his ambitions in public,” Veeri said.
He added that people of the state know Mehbooba Mufti as a person with “selfless courage and a desire to ensure betterment in peoples’ lives.”
“It is not Mehbooba Mufti who needs PDP. It is actually the PDP which needs the person of her stature. Her command and sincerity in work is already being praised by one and all, not only in JK but across the country. She has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression she has left on the minds of people is that she is actuated by high sense of fairness and impartiality. Every person associated with the PDP is proud of her leadership and is hopeful that she will lead the people of the state to their permanent prosperity,” said Veeri.
Dy Mayor assaulted during SMC’s councilors session
Srinagar, Jan 21: Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Imran was Monday injured when “two corporators” allegedly assaulted him during the councilor session of the corporation.
He was shifted to police hospital for immediate treatment.
A senior police official confirmed the incident and said that a case has been registered and further action taken up.
After being discharged from hospital, Imran addressed a presser alleging that he was attacked by two “RSS and BJP-backed corporators”.
He said assault on him was pre-planned by the “BJP-backed mayor” and hoped that police will take appropriate action in the case.
“I will not bow down by such tactics. I will continue to speak against corruption and injustice,” he said, adding that he was attacked for launching a “tirade against BJP and Hindutva campaigns.” Imran said that he was committed to “kicking out” the BJP from Kashmir.
“From the first day, I urged the administration to look into the issue of BJP, RSS sponsored Mayor but they turned deaf ears to my pleas,” he said.