ARIF RASHID/ MIR SABEEN GULREZ
SRINAGAR: The streets of Srinagar became waterlogged with a day’s rain that fell in brief but intense spells on Tuesday morning. The quantum of rainfall, recorded at 44mm in the city, had little impact on the water level in the river Jhelum and its tributaries. At 9am, hours after the rainfall, the gauge reading of the Jhelum at Sangam was 1.33 ft, at Ram Munshi Bagh 3.10 ft, and at Asham 2.58 ft, well below the danger levels. The Jhelum’s tributaries – Vishaw Nallah at Khudwani, Rambiyara Nallah at Wachi, and Lidder Nallah at Batakote – also recorded low levels. Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway was plying as usual and train services on the Srinagar-Banihal route were also running normally.
However, this rainfall was enough to waterlog the streets at Parimpora, Shaltang, Polo View, Residency Road, Regal Chowk, Ghanta Ghar, Jehangir Chowk, Indra Nagar, Rambagh, Shaheed Gunj, Qamarwari, Batmaloo, Rajbagh, Umarabad, Mustafabad, and Hari Singh High Street. In the downtown, waterlogging took place at Malik Sahib, Safa Kadal, Eidgah, Kadi Kadal, Saraf Kadal, Rajouri Kadal and Baba Demp Khanyar. The water on the streets blocked traffic movement at many places and the traffic department had to make diversions at many places. Pedestrian movement also suffered.
Localities in Bemina-Gousia, Hamdaniya, SDA, Madina, Abu Baker, Hamza and Housing Colony were also inundated. The city was later cleared of the inundated water after the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) pressed into use 20 pumps. The first pump was installed at Regal Chowk at about 7:45am, as per SMC sanitation officer Sofi Muhammad Akbar. It took his team almost the entire day to clear the streets.
SMC Commissioner Riyaz Wani did not explain the causes of the crisis, but boasted about the de-watering exercise that brought life back on the streets. In Bemina areas, he said, an efficient drainage system was in place and pumps were used to get the roads clear.
“We have a good drainage system right, left and centre in Bemina areas,” Wani said. “Hamdaniya and Gousia Colony are messed up because they are illegal. These colonies have come up despite SMC not giving them clearance.”
Bashir Ahmad, a resident of the legal SDA Colony, rejected the commissioner’s justification. “We have been pleading before SMC to repair the defunct drainage system but nothing has happened. They once came with machinery but it was never put to use,” Bashir said.
Reema Gazala, an employee of the Deputy Drug and Food Controller office, situated in Bemina area, said she had to face difficulties in reaching office because of the inundated streets.
“It was totally chaotic today. I was unable to move an inch. Today I reached office two hours late due to the waterlogging,” Reema said.
Today’s rainfall was recorded at 59mm at Qazigund, 4.7mm at Pahalgam, 3.6mm at Kokernag, and 0.4mm at Gulmarg, the MeT office said.
The rainfall did bring respite from the sweltering heat of the past week. According to Sonum Lotus, Director of the MeT department in J&K, Kashmir valley may receive light rainfall for the next one day.
“There is no expectation of heavy rainfall in the valley,” Lotus said.