Srinagar: The state government’s lack of funds to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for an alternate flood channel in the Valley has prompted the World Bank to take over the assignment itself.
The Rs 180-crore DPR for the nearly Rs 20,000-crore mammoth project would include studying feasibility of every part of a proposed 80-kilometer Dogripora channel to be constructed from south Kashmir’s Awantipora to Asia’s largest freshwater lake Wular in Bandipora district.
According to former chief engineer, flood and irrigation, Javed Jafri, the World Bank would study the feasibility of the channel before the work is executed. “We received tenders for the DPR but the state had no funds available. Now the World Bank has taken over and will prepare the report itself,” he said.
The devastating floods in September 2014 forced the J&K government to construct additional flood channels including Dogripora-Wular. Two months after the deluge, the Government of India’s water resources ministry had asked their counterpart in the state to frame the DPR for the additional flood channels.
A joint study conducted by the Department of Environment and Remote Sensing and the Indian Space Research Organisation following the 2014 floods had warned of another deluge in the Valley if corrective measures were not made in the drainage system. It also suggested construction of an additional flood channel to augment the carrying capacity of river Jhelum.
The channel would provide increased storage capacity of 1,15,000 cusecs of water and would consume about one-and-a-half year for the World Bank to study all aspects, Jafri said. “It would take at least six to seven years to construct the channel,” he added.
Experts such as Dr Shakeel Romshoo are skeptical of the channel’s carrying capacity. “It is huge project but it is not technically feasible because of less gradient from Sangam to Srinagar,” said Romshoo, who heads Kashmir University’s earth sciences department.
He said increasing the gradient would require the government to create another Jhelum river.