Floods and Kashmir

Floods and Kashmir
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Inclement and consistently rainy weather in Kashmir over the past few days which raised levels of various water bodies led to fear and paranoia among people. Most feared a repeat of the disastrous 2014 floods which marauded and devastated the valley (even though the region was mercifully spared of losses in lives). Regardless, the psychological effect of 2014 floods was traumatic for the people of Kashmir. Amidst fears of a repeat, the administration’s response was neither too effective nor efficient. To the extent , the response of the administration was effective, it might be because of Governor’s rule in Kashmir. If this response is to be disaggregated and analyzed, it would appear that it was yet again reactive rather than proactive. The clear inference that can be drawn here is that the lessons of 2014 have not been learnt. The magnitude of the horrendous floods in 2014 should have concentrated minds and not merely created mechanisms to deal with disasters like this but a whole of government approach where the machinery of the administration would get automatically activated to deal with floods or flood like situations. But, this is not so. The administration is again in a reactive mode. Creating a negative “buzz” about floods through various forms of media only adds to the natural reaction of people, in the form of fear and trepidation. In other words, it adds to the woes of the masses. It stands to reason that, on account of a whole host of factors, predominantly climate change, weather and climactic changes have occurred on such a scale, that natural disasters might happen more often and regularly than in the past. The obvious reflex and response to this on part of the administration, to repeat, should have been a whole of government one. It is rather inexplicable why this has not happened and developed as a reflex of those in charge. Moreover, the hundreds of crores spent on dredging and desilting do not appear to have been spent in accordance to and in consonance with the demands of the situation. All in all then, in terms of an effective and efficient response to the flood like situation in Kashmir, the response of the administration on account of the reasons identified here has been found wanting. In the final analysis, the onus should not be laid on the people but rather people should be protected and measures for these taken thereof.

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