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news details
Six years later, Govt wakes up to flood management programme
Rs 5400 crores to be spent within one year, officials mute past delays
8/7/2020 12:15:07 AM

EARLY TIMES REPORT

JAMMU, Aug 6: The government after six long years-when floods wreaked havoc in the erstwhile state- has finally woken up for the implementation of the flood management plan costing about 5400 crores to the exchequer.
As per the reports, the plan will be implemented soon on Jhelum river and has scheduled to complete by the end of the year 2021.
However, its announcement has raised several questions about its belated implementation and why it took the government six long years to go for the management plan for the floods in Jammu and Kashmir?
As per the officials’ privy to the development, it was due to the non- serious approach of the previous regimes that led to such an inordinate delay in the implementation of the scheme. It is also being informed that the flood management was amongst the least of all priorities for the past regime due to which no forward movement was witnessed vis-a-vis the implementation of various schemes on the ground.
As per the report, in the floods of September 2014, Srinagar and adjoining districts were the most affected areas. The heavy rainfall resulted in huge water discharge in the Jhelum river exceeding the carrying capacity of the river and its flood channels. This combined with blocked flood channels and inadequate flood control measures triggered floods with devastating effect. The flood spill channels with the original carrying capacity of 17,000 cusecs of water had been reduced to a carrying capacity of 4,000 cusecs of water due to accumulation of sediment load from various nallahs which merge with the channel at various points. To address this issue, a scheme for improvement to flood spill channel by way of construction of central channel of the small cross-section was taken up in the year 2008-09 by the Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) Department at an estimated cost of Rs14.93 crore. Subsequently, this was subsumed in the year 2010-11 under the ‘Flood Threat to River Jhelum Scheme’ at an estimated cost of Rs 50.68 crore.
Similarly, reveal the official documents, against 11,947 metres and 11,78,331 cubic metres of flood spill channel required to be treated and excavated respectively as per the DPR of the scheme, only 8,087 metres (68 per cent) and 5,05,995.13 cubic metres (43 per cent) were treated and excavated respectively.
Documents reveal that Rs 9.20 crore was utilized on the construction of structures at Wullar lake and miscellaneous items which were not approved in the DPR. No Objection Certificate (NOC) was required to be obtained from wetland authorities for the execution of construction works in wetland areas falling under the area of implementation of the scheme. The requisite NOC was not obtained prior to start of the work. Consequently, construction of drainage channel covering 1,641 metres, allotted in July 2011 to a contractor for an amount of Rs 1.44 crore could not be completed due to objection raised against the construction by the wetland authorities. As a result, 2,07,172 cubic metres of earth could not be excavated from the wetland area and the wetland continued to remain filled with silt despite an expenditure of Rs 27.97 lakh incurred on the project.
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