Waterlogged and Swamped

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All it took was 44 mm of almost continuous and incessant rainfall to clog Srinagar city and waterlog it. This water logging affected daily life and threw it out of gear. The question is why did it happen and what accounts for it? While the answer is multifaceted, one major reason that can be isolated is bad, poor and flawed urbanization which, among other things, clogged and blocked natural waterways, streams and rivulets that crisscrossed Srinagar city. This artificial, inorganic and bad process, was and is overlaid by the nature of human habitation in the city, and a drainage system that does not speak to the needs of the populace. The cumulative result and consequence of these additive factors has, in the main, led to the condition that was witnessed after incessant rains hit the city. It is a blessing that the Kashmir region’s weather and climactic conditions are rather benign; if, these would have been intense and hot climes would have defined the valley, then the issue of swamping and draining, would have led to overwhelming problems of public health and hygiene. However, that we are naturally blessed with somewhat benign climactic conditions which do not serve as homes for pathogens and viruses, after the city gets waterlogged, does not mean and imply complacency. Lest the problem become more acute or even humungously difficult to deal with, prudence dictates that preventative and even pre emptive measures be taken. The question now is: what should be the nature of these measures? While the flawed and warped urbanization cannot be undone but measures can and should be taken that preclude and prevent further damage. Specifically, this would mean creating urban spaces that are user friendly and that redound to the benefit of denizens of Srinagar city. These spaces would, however, amount to zero, if an efficient and effective drainage system is not in place. All in all, the approach to rejigg the city’s urban spaces and revamp the drainage system must of a nature which is a stakeholder one. That is, the general masses must be taken on board and their inputs sought when designing and implementing strategies and policies of urban renewal. The cityscape and the urban agglomerations of Srinagar city need a drastic overhaul, to not only preserve and maintain the city’s glory but also for public health and hygiene reasons. The waterlogging of the city must serve as an eloquent reminder of this and concentrate minds to so something effective about it.