Despite facing 20 ravaging floods, J&K yet to prepare roadmap for deluge prone areas

In a testimony of extreme non-seriousness, J&K has failed to come up with a comprehensive roadmap to minimize the damages in terms of loss of land, lives, houses and public infrastructure during the ravaging floods, which otherwise have become a regular phenomenon in the State. In this way, the Government has conveyed that it has not learnt any lesson from 20 major floods that the State has witnessed till date.
Official sources told us that the history of J&K is rife with frequent floods, which have often led to inundation of villages and large scale destruction of agricultural crops and consequent famines. The floods in State are mainly caused due to heavy rainfall in the higher catchments, rapid glacial-melt and snow-melt coupled with cloudbursts.
Before the recent floods of September 2014, the State witnessed major floods in the years 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1912, 1929, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1957 and 1959. Floods were also witnessed in the years 1976, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and in September 2006, sources said, adding the floods of September 2014, the biggest of those that have ever hit the State, caused immense damage resulting in loss of land, lives, houses, public infrastructure and business hubs etc.
These ravaging floods brought to fore the necessity of preparation of master plan for the flood prone areas so as to initiate the measures to control the floods and provide protection against this natural calamity. Moreover, after every deluge the necessity of establishing the extensive networks for flood forecasting to give timely warning to the people was felt.
“However, till date these vital aspects have not received the required attention of the State Government and neither the master plan for flood prone areas nor network of flood forecasting has been prepared so far”, sources regretted, adding “this clearly indicates that even after facing 20 major devastating floods the State has not learnt any lesson and it wants to remain mute spectator till the loss of lives and property during such incidents in future”.
They further regretted that measures have not been taken to protect the natural drainage systems with a view to remove artificial barriers in the path of flow of excess drainage water. “Another vital aspect—promotion of watershed management through extensive soil conservation, catchment area treatment, preservation of forests, increasing the forest area and the construction of check dams to reduce intensity of floods has not received the due attention of all the concerned agencies”, sources added.
Stating that reducing encroachments on water bodies, wetlands, water courses and reclamation of land of such bodies to minimize the erosion of land was imperative to minimize the impact of floods, sources said that this necessity was stressed by the experts following worst ever floods of September 2014 but the concerned departments of J&K have yet not shown any seriousness in this regard thereby establishing that no lesson has been learnt from all the incidents of this type of natural calamity.
“These aspects even form part of the J&K State Water Resources (Regulations and Management Act), 2010 but dilly-dallying approach is still persisting on the part of Government despite the lapse of six years since the enactment of this legislation”, sources said.
Moreover, a Parliamentary Panel, which had visited the State following worst ever floods of September 2014 had pointed out all these shortcomings and had stressed the need for prompt action by all the concerned departments of J&K. However, its recommendations have been gathering dust in the official files despite lapse of two and half years.
“What was the fun of sending Parliamentary Panel to point out the shortcomings if its recommendations were not to be taken seriously by the State Government”, sources asked


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