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Rains, Floods bring back horrifying memories of September catastrophe
3/30/2015 11:17:27 PM
Peerzada Ummer

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Mar 30: The ghost of last September's ravaging floods has returned to haunt the valley Sunday night, leaving people living in low lying areas in state of panic that reminded them of cold official apathy that they had to witness in most difficult circumstances.
As the state dispensation remained on tenterhooks at present and did every bit to excavate people from their homes- shifting them to safer places, Omar, when he was the chief minister of the state in September last year spent three hours in supervising the lopping of a Chinar tree that had a branch falling over a mosque, caring little that the entire population of Srinagar and adjoining areas was on the brink of a dreadful disaster.
The people this time seem calm as the government has made interim arrangements for shifting them to safer places and administration and political leadership is visible on ground zero dispelling fears and extending help.
Rescued people while talking to Early Times revealed the scary tales of September last year when the government failed them. "It was the dead of night when we were crying for Help. No one even when Jehlum hinted the catastrophe came to our rescue. The civil administration was non existent on ground," recalls a 65 year old Mohammad Yaqub Khan, a local resident of Raj Bagh which witnessed havoc in last year's floods.
Pertinently, floods have been endemic to Kashmir valley and history stands witness that the Himalyan region witnessed series of floods in the past but at most of the times the wit of the then rulers including the Maharajas saved their kingdom from nature's fury. People and especially the ones whose everything was washed away during floods, today remained most aghast against the then chief minister Omar Abdullah who did little to evacuate people from the death traps.
When there was a rise in level of water at Sangam beyond the danger mark, the then government should have sounded an alert for not just the Flood Control authorities but entire administration and whatever the time of the day, Flood Control rooms should have been established in all district headquarters. People say that during September no vigil and patrolling of Bunds were done. "Even at the time when the river crossed the danger mark, no boats in Dal, Wullar and other water bodies were commandeered with the owners given premium compensation whether they were actually used or not, as remains the common practice at the time of the flood threat," says Mukhtar Ahmad Kalwal, a retired engineer. He added that if the Omar Government had acted promptly, Srinagar would have been saved from devastation. "The common practice is that boats are attached to different police stations to remain available but the government did nothing of this sort."
Reports also informed that during the September floods, there were diversions made at known places to reduce the water level in Jehlum before it entered Srinagar.
Meanwhile this time when the entire administration is on alert much before the actual threat, people are relaxed and confident that atleast they would not be drowned for the second time.
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