All eyes turned skyward

All eyes turned skyward
  • With Jhelum water level still near the flood mark in Srinagar, 3 days of rain forecasted by Met office spell danger
  • All Board of School Education exams scheduled till April 4 in the Valley and winter zone of Jammu division deferred

Srinagar: The Valley vacillated between hope and apprehension on Tuesday. A fall in water level in Jhelum raised hopes that there might not be another devastating flood. At the same time, weatherman’s prediction that it will rain for the next three days kept them on the toes.
Director meteorological department Sonam Lotus told Kashmir Reader that the Valley will receive moderate to heavy rains from Wednesday to Friday. He said the forecast is never precise, but the fresh spell of rains and snow might “occur in breaks”.
“We have already informed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, about the weather conditions for the next three days. We are monitoring the situation jointly,” Lotus said.
The break in the rains since early Sunday morning provided the much needed relief, which reflected in reduced water level as recorded at three gauges along the length of Jhelum. It was 13.90 feet (danger mark is 23 feet), 16.95 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar (flood declared at 18 feet) and 12.33 at Asham (flood declared at 14 feet) at 8pm on Tuesday.
But people apprehend the river will swell again if it rains again for three days with the same intensity. When rains pounded the Valley on last Saturday, water level was rising at a very fast rate.
Public works minister Altaf Bukhari reportedly said that if the water level at Sangam comes down to 12 ft, the chances of a flood are remote even if it rains for two more days.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Gazanfar Hussain told Kashmir Reader the divisional administration was keenly monitoring the situation and as part of the precautionary measures, 41shelters have been identified, where people displaced by floods will be accommodated.
“Srinagar continues to remain on flood alert though the water level in Jhelum has receded. We are monitoring situation on hour to hour basis. We are fully prepared to meet any challenge,” he said.
Policemen have been deployed in Pantha Chowk, Ram Munshi Bagh, Rajbagh, Kothi Bagh, Maharaj Gunj, Safa Kadal, Chattabal and Parimpora to constantly monitor the water level and any possible breaches.
Most of the police stations in this capital city have been equipped with tubes, ropes, trucks and other necessary equipment to tackle any emergency situation, officials said.
A rise in water level of Dal Lake—1 foot according to local residents but only 1 inch according to lakes and waterways employees—triggered panic among the residents, particularly after two houses reportedly collapsed in Akhoon Mohalla locality in the interiors of lake.
Vice-chairman Lakes and Waterways Development Authority Sarmad Hafeez told Kashmir Reader that the situation is not alarming in Dal Lake.
“Currently, we have a water level of 11.7 ft. Water is being discharged into Nallah Amir Khan after opening its gates. Once the level of river Jhelum reaches 16 ft, we might also throw open Brari Nambal gate,” Hafeez said.

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