Rains continue to lash plains, Srinagar sees massive waterlogging
By Rabiya Bashir
Srinagar, Apr 10: As the rains continued to lash plains since Sunday afternoon, the higher reaches of the Valley including the famous tourist destinations including Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg received a fresh snowfall on Tuesday.
The higher reaches, including the world-famous ski resort, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg received a thin layer of fresh snowfall, an official in the Meteorological department said.
He said that the wet spell across the Valley would continue till Apr 12 under the influence of a Western Disturbance (WD), which according to them is active in the region.
As an expected fallout, the incessant rains virtually turned Srinagar city into a cesspool, with streets and by-lanes at many places getting water-logged.
The roads and by-lanes of several civil lines and old city areas are inundated thereby hindering the pedestrian as well as vehicular movement.
Areas waterlogged included Residency Road, Maulana Azad Road, Jawahar Nagar, Mehjoor Nagar, Chanapora, Qamarwari, Bemina, Indira Nagar, Hyderpora, Hari Singh High Street, Chanapora, Rambagh, Natipora, Shivpora, Sonawar, Rainawari, Bohri Kadal, Eidgah, Nowpora, Sekidafar, and other upper and low-lying areas of Srinagar.
In areas like Bemina, Jawahar Nagar and Indira Nagar, people had to face hardships to move out of their houses due to the inundated streets and by-lanes.
“We have a drainage system here in some areas but it is faulty. Whenever there is a slight downpour our lane gets flooded,” said Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Bemina.
Abdul Wahid, another resident from Indira Nagar, said his area turns into cesspool even with slight rainfall.
“We are tired of facing water logging every now and then. Nobody came here to help us. Authorities are only focusing the main city areas. We have a poor drainage system here,” he said.
Though SMC claims to have started the dewatering process, but many localities still remain inundated. “We have almost cleared the city centre Lal Chowk. All the dewatering pumps are on the job. There are several places in the city that suffer water logging because of old drainage system,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad Qazi, Superintending Engineer, who is handling the City drainage.
He said that all the low lying areas are being dewatered manually or by employing dewatering pumps.
“Some low lying areas have 50-year- old drainage system but it takes more time to maintain the whole system. Low lying areas need de-silting and more clearance at least thrice in a year. We are at it and soon the drainage problems will be tackled,” he said.
Qazi further said that the corporation has around five drainage projects in the city which are under the centrally-sponsored Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
“Among five projects, we have one in Lal Chowk under the scheme. Almost 60 percent of the work has been done and the project will be completed by November 2018. After the completion of this project, Lal Chowk area will be better,” he said.
SMC Commissioner, Riyaz Ahmed Wani said that all the dewatering stations including mobile pumps have been kept operational. “The entire dewatering exercise has been taken up under the close supervision who was in constant touch with ground level Officers.”
He also said that the general public can contact on helpline number 2474499 in case of reporting any submergence from their concerned areas.
Last year, the state government had set a target of putting in place 90 per cent of the required ‘proper drainage system’ in Srinagar in the next four years with financial assistance from the World Bank and government of India.
The SMC officials had also said that only 37 per cent of the Srinagar city has drainage system.
Over the years, the state government initiated a number of drainage schemes in Kashmir, but lack of funds aborted most of them.
Currently, under the centrally-sponsored Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme and with the World’s Bank’s financial support, the government intends to have 90 per cent of the drainage system in place in Srinagar by 2021.