Rs 399 cr to be spent for restoration of Jhelum

Srinagar: Embankments along Jhelum which the swollen river breached in 2014 causing devastating floods, will be restored and other remedied measures taken at a cost of Rs 399 crore over the next two years, a senior government official said.

“Rs 140 crore will be set aside for land and structure acquisition, Rs 40 crore for building two bridges, Rs 35 crore for dredging and the rest for allied works,” Commissioner Secretary Public Works Rohit Kansal said.

Kansal, who took stock of the progress of dredging work of river Jhelum and inspected various dredging spots including Qamarwari and Mehjoor Nagar here, said work is progressing on a war-footing to increase the carrying capacity of the river and its spill over channel to prevent floods in future.

“Government’s first priority is to restore the width of the river and flood channel and currently dredging is going on at 70 spots across the length and breadth of the river in the Valley,” the officer said.

Around 5.86 lakh cubic metres of soil has been excavated so far, he added.

“The project envisages dredging of seven lakh cubic metres in Srinagar stretch of Jhelum to be completed in 12 months,” he said adding, nine lakh cubic metres will be excavated from Baramulla stretch in 20 months.

Dredging has been completed to the extent of 25,720 Cubic metres against the target of 38,100 cubic metres in the flood spill channel from Padshahibagh in Srinagar to Wullar in Bandipora district of north Kashmir.

The silt carried by September 2014 floods chocked the river, reducing its carrying capacity to a large extent as a result of which rainfall for even two days posed a threat of inundation in the Valley.

The project for dredging the river has been awarded to a Kolkata-based firm.

“The target of about 5.86 lakh cubic metres out of the proposed 16 lakh cubic metres has been achieved in the last four months.

The work is going on in full swing and it will not be impacted in any way due to increase in water level during summers,” officials of the Flood Control Department said.

Out of Rs 399 crore for the Jhelum project, they said, the state’s share in the allocation is Rs 120 crore.

The Centre’s share under the Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme 2015 for comprehensive flood management works on Jhelum-Phase-I has not been released so far.

The Irrigation and Flood Control Department is preparing a detailed project report which would include building storage dams on the tributaries of the river which will be used in times of emergency to divert the water flow into the river, they said.