FLOOD PANIC: SMC faces water pump crunch

Junaid Nabi Bazaz

Srinagar: The number of water pumps available with Srinagar Municipal Corporation to drain out waterlogged streets across the city are not adequate to meet the demand, its Commissioner said Tuesday.
The commissioner, Tufail Matto, told Kashmir Reader that the corporation was facing a “mismatch between the available water pumps and the number of water logged streets in the city.”
There are 76 permanent dewatering stations, 50 movable water pumps, and nine sucker machines available with the SMC to dewater the waterlogged streets, he said.
The numbers fall short keeping in view the size of the city, which encompasses 592 Mohallas.
“76 water pumps are permanently stationed at various vulnerable places like Rajbagh, Shivpora, etc which are inundated even by scant rainfall. The rest (50 movable pumps) remain available for other parts of the city,” Matto said.
The pumps are then used across the city on priority basis during which many waterlogged streets remain unattended.
During the downpour which often leads to water logging at most places in Srinagar, the SMC seeks help from fire emergency department, he said.
Asked regarding the complaints about failure of the SMC to clear waterlogged areas including Bemina and Qamarwari, Mattoo attributed it to impaired functioning of many water stations.
“At Qamarwari only one out of four water pumps is functional. That is why the entire area is yet to be dewatered which will be done within coming days,” Matto said.
Asked about the reason for failure to repair three pumps at Qamarwari since September floods, Matto replied: “the locals were not allowing us to repair them due to some problems. Now we have fixed that and soon they will be repaired.”
Commissioner also blamed unplanned expansion of the city for water logging problem.
“The unplanned conversion of paddy fields into residential areas has caused this mess which leads to delay in construction of their drainage system. The water table in these colonies remain high which compounds to the water logging,” said Matto.
The paucity of water pumps was also found in September when the city remained inundated for around a month. Then, New Delhi sent many water pumps to the state. However, Matto said, they were taken back.
He said the corporation has recently put a proposal before the state government for procurement of 50 more movable pumps.