Srinagar: This summer and autumn, the weather has been very kind in terms of the downpour across Kashmir Valley. Kind-in a way that what we have been experiencing post 2014 deluge is that as soon it began to rain in the Valley, the ever increasing water level in river Jhelum would send shivers down the spine of every person here.
However, this year the government has yet again failed to capitalise on the dry spell as no or very little headway in terms of dredging works carried out in Jhelum river, was made.
Just yesterday a meeting was convened here wherein top officials of the Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC) informed that in Srinagar 4.44 lakh cubic meters out of 7 lakh cubic meters, in Baramulla 4.46 lakh cubic meters against 9.16 lakh cubic meters and in Shariefabad 4.74 lakh out of 8 lakh cubic meters were dredged and rest of dredging work of the river will be completed soon.
This clearly shows the lack of interest by the government as well its executing agencies on the dredging of the River Jhelum for which the Chief Ministers office also had assured that the works will be personally overseen by the Chief Minister.
What is being seen as a callous approach is that the government functionaries have not even initiated the process of auctioning and tendering of earth lifting from the banks of river Jhelum.
The dredging works in Jhelum were seen as one of the top priority projects given the magnitude of devastation that was seen during the 2014 floods. The governments non -seriousness over the issue has prompted the environmentalists to express their concern over the slow pace of dredging.
Only a mere 34% dredging works have been claimed to be carried out even though the entire dredging works should have been completed by now, as 2017 was the deadline set by the government for the completion of this vital project.
The dredging project is so vital that the government must wake up and direct concerned authorities to speed up the dredging process in Jhelum to avoid 2014- like devastating floods.
Recently, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had expressed concern over the slow pace of dredging works on Jhelum river post the 2014 floods, and directed the officials to ensure completion of the project.
The memories of September 2014 devastating floods are still fresh in the minds of people. The dereliction of duty by authorities may not be tolerated at the stake of people’s life and property.
The project has to be completed not only at an earliest but to the best satisfaction of the people whose life and property is at stake.