Experts differ over Sept flood cause

Iqbal Kirmani
SRINAGAR: Various experts and academia during a daylong seminar on deluge Tuesday differed on what caused the devastating September floods in Kashmir.
Experts speaking in a seminar, ‘Kashmir Floods: Genesis, Responses and Way forward’ organised by Central for Research and Development Policy, a Srinagar based think tank, in collaboration with ‘Action Aid’ in Kashmir University, put various reasons and differed with each other on the causes of floods.
According to Prof Shakil Ramshoo, head of Earth Sciences department KU, floods were caused by the excessive rainfall. “The Valley usually receives heavy rainfall in winters due to western disturbances but in September the western disturbances were merged with monsoon waves also which caused excessive rainfall,” Ramshoo said.
He said that it was an ethical question to breach the Kandizal bund. “But if Kandizal had been breached 12 hours before it was, the water flow in the Jhelum that reached the Srinagar could have been reduced by three times,” said he.
However, Iftikhar Hakim, chief town planner Kashmir said, “Due to individual greed and social corruption this happened. The haphazard constructions over the flood channels and blockage of them at various places is a danger to state even now.”
Hakim said, “Srinagar itself was one of the causes to what has happened. The main cause of the floods were death of wetlands, lakes and flood retention basins, illegal construction in waterways and urbanization in absorption basins.”
Shakeel Qalandar of Kashmir centre for social and development studies on the other hand asked for a probe as to what lead to the devastating floods.
Distancing itself from the government figures of 44000 crore of compensation Qalandar said, “We formed state economic reconstruction forum, and our estimate is that loss of 35000 crores have been incurred in floods.”
He said that the Valley has been discriminated on all fronts. “While Uttarakhand was helped by World Bank but no international aid is being allowed for the Kashmir. We met embassies and every one is ready to help us but there is no policy from Government of India in this regard,” said Qalandar.
Director CRDP, Peer Ghulam Nabi Suhail said, “The idea was also to attempt to provide policy recommendations provided by the various experts to avoid such disasters in future.”
He also stressed the need for civil society groups to advocate for the issues and pinpoint them before the administration, which otherwise go wrong.