|Early Times Report |
SRINAGAR, Sept 25: It has been around 18 months since the drafting of 'Water Policy' by J&K, but its implementation remains a distant dream.
The then government framed a draft for the first ever 'State Water Policy' in March 2017. In it, it was stressed for preparation of a master plan for flood-prone areas and called for various measures to prevent floods in the Valley in future.
"Measures to establish the extensive networks for flood forecasting, to give timely warnings to the people likely to be effected shall also be outlined. A roadmap for determination of the limits of the flood basins and the necessary exercises to be carried out shall be prepared," the draft reads.
However, 18 months down the line, it has yet not been implemented despite several announcements by the government.
An official of Irrigation and Flood Control Department said that notification was also issued in this regard. "But no steps are being taken for its implementation," he said.
The policy has also emphasised for measures to protect the natural drainage systems with a view to removing artificial barriers in the path of flow of excess drainage water. "Operating procedures for reservoirs shall be evolved, and implemented in such a manner so as to have flood cushion, and reduce trapping of sediments during flood seasons."
As per the official records, the state has witnessed major floods in 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1912, 1929, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1957 and 1959. Floods were also witnessed in 1976, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and in September 2014. The floods of September 2014 caused immense damage, resulting in loss of land, lives, houses and public infrastructure.
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.
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. "Government should prepare a master plan and issue directions to implement it," he added.