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Srinagar: Thousands of people fled their homes on Monday after flood waters entered several residential colonies in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley.
The alert was sounded around 7 am Monday by the officials of the Irrigation and Flood Control (IFC) department after Jhelum River swelled by the torrential rains and crossed the danger marks of 22ft at Sangam and 18 ft at Ram Munshi Bagh respectively, an official handout issued Monday morning said.
The handout assured that the government had put forth men and machinery into service to help the people affected by the floods.
“Accordingly the authorities have declared that Kashmir has been flooded and people living in low lying areas, especially in and around Jhelum have been advised to move to safer areas,” it read.
The alert prompted the people, living in the low lying areas to abandon their homes and move towards safer places.
The flood waters of Jhelum breached embankments at Hamdania Colony, Bemina, Rakh-e-Arth, Pampore and Kursoo, creating panic among the residents, witnesses said. While the breach at Kursoo was plugged by the officials instantly with the sand bags, the residents of Rakh-e-Arth, housing hundreds of Dal dwellers alleged discrimination by the authorities.
“The authorities did not pay heed to our repeated requests when we informed them that the bund has breached and the flood water has entered our colony. This is discrimination. The government is saving rich and influential and leaving poor at the mercy of Allah,” Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Rakh-e-Arth, told Kashmir Reader.
Jhelum water breached the bund at Drangbal Pampore and entered the Shah-e-Hamdan road leaving it waterlogged. However, the officials quickly plugged the breach using sand bags.
The breach and water logging, however, prompted the traders in Drangbal and Kadlabal to remove their goods from their shops and go downs. Police also sealed Srinagar-Jammu highway near Sempora and allowed one-way traffic fearing spill over in the river.
In the interiors of Dal Lake, the flood waters entered several residential houses forcing the people to shift their belongings to the upper stories. Those in single stories preferred to move towards the safer places.
“September floods have caused extensive damage to the residential houses in the Dal Lake. And the fresh flooding has left them unsafe. So, we had no option but to leave to the safer places,” Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Zaildar Mohalla said.
He said many families living in Dal interiors have fled to safer places like Zadibal, Shalimar, Bota Kadal and Hassanabad fearing a repeat of September deluge.
Anxious residents were seen roaming around the Jhelum embankments at Rajbagh, Sheikh Bagh, Amira Kadal and other places and gauging the mood of the gushing waters. Panicked residents had also made a beeline on the banks of Jhelum in Pantha Chowk to have a firsthand account of the situation.
Flood waters from river Sindh also spilled in Padshahi Canal inundating several localities of Srinagar, including Malbagh, Rangpora, Dangerpora and Umer Colony, reports said.
Reports from Anantnag said that hundreds of residents of Shamsipora village staged protests at Khanabal against the alleged government failure to rescue the people, who were stranded in the floods. The protesters alleged that the village was submerged by the water on Sunday night and the administration ignored repeated calls for help. The protesters blocked Srinagar-Jammu highway for several hours.
Chief Engineer, IFC, Kashmir, Javed Jaffar told Kashmir Reader that the water level was receding at Sangam, while at the Ram Munshi Bagh here it continues to be above the danger level.
“Srinagar, so far is stable. If it does not rain more, situation will improve considerably,” he said.
Meanwhile, the weatherman has predicted light showers in plains and moderate rains in higher reaches of the Valley during the next 24 hours.