‘Jhelum drowns in sewage, garbage’

Srinagar: River Jhelum, considered to be the lifeline of Kashmir, is a garbage dumping site for Municipal Council Anantnag. This is besides a number of raw sewage outlets which find its way directly into the Jhelum, according to Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department.
The Chief Engineer informed the High Court on Wednesday that Jhelum takes the shape of river at the confluence of three nallahs—Aripath, Sandan and Brinnghi—near Anantnag in south Kashmir.
“Upstream of Anantnag to Verinag, Jhelum is in the shape of a nallah called Sandran and has no major concentration of pollution on its banks,” he said. “However, a number of small villages have a raw sewage outlets (which) directly going into the nallah,” he said.
The Chief Engineer gave location of 149 sewage outlets which go directly into the Jhelum, once so clean that people used its water for drinking.
At Takiya Donipora area in the Aripath village, he said, the river is a dumping site of garbage and waste material for Municipal Council Anantnag.
The Chief Engineer said that except the UEED department, no other government department, which contribute to the pollution of Jhelum, have responded to its communication.
The Chief Engineer in his communication on April 24 had asked the departments to submit details of future plan to treat drainage or sewage before draining into the Jhelum.
“Only Chief Engineer UEED department Srinagar has furnished the detailed report where under information regarding sewage disposal of Srinagar city has been submitted.”
The information was divulged by the Chief Engineer Flood Control and Irrigation (FC&I) in compliance to the directions by the High Court during the hearing of Public Interest Litigation—Qazi Rashid Shamas VS state and others.
On April 1, the High Court had asked the Chief Engineer I&FC to file a comprehensive statement of facts indicating sources of pollution of the Jhelum and identification of the places where untreated urban runoffs and sewerage find their way into the river.
Jhelum originates from Verinag spring and is joined by various spring-fed and snow-fed tributaries and some of them drain from the slopes of the Pir Panjal range and join the river on the left bank while the right bank tributaries come from the Himalayan slope.
It has been stated that the river winds through many towns like Anantnag, Bijbehara, Awantipora, Pampore, Srinagar, Shadipora, Sumbal, Hajin and Banyari, where from it falls into the Wullar lake. Subsequently, it passes through Ningli, Sopore, Baramulla, Uri and Muzaffarabad and then ultimately flows into Pakistan.
The report states that the Jhelum and its associated streams—Lidder, Rambiara, Vishow, Romshi, Watal ara, Aripal, Doodhganga, Sukhnag and Sindh—as well as tiny rivulets such as the Sandran, Bringi and Arapat Kol—constitute the drainage network of the Valley.
In its earlier report, the Chief Engineer had stated that Jhelum receives drainage, sewerage of every settlement through drains constructed by people and even by various government agencies like Urban Environmental, Engineering Department, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Local Bodies, and Rural Development Department.
The report further reveals that the magnitude of the treatment of sewerage and drainage is very huge in comparison to the efforts of the government to tackle this problem.