AASIM BASHIR BHAT
SRINAGAR: The communications blockade in Kashmir has made the rivers ‘flow quiet’ as the digital gauges installed to measure their level and flow has turned defunct with the internet shutdown.
The river flow and levels have remained in focus in Kashmir after 2014 floods, and were now monitored in real time by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD) through a network of the digital flood gauges sending data online.
Several such digital devices were installed not only at the gauge sites on River Jhelum, but also on the Chatchkoel (Doodh Ganga) at Barzulla.
An IFCD employee told Kashmir Reader that the online gauges were dependent on the communication network sending gauge readings to relevant offices which forwarded it to counterparts or end users.
“Not a single online gauge is working and IFCD can’t get the real time reading,” the official said.
“As of now we are checking the water levels manually with the help of already fixed gauge plates at the gauge sites,” he added.
A top official of the department, who did not want to be named, said that they had asked authorities to activate the required communication needed to operate the vital river gauges, but got a very cold response.
However, he added that being “well versed with the gauge readings” they reverted to manual gauge readings for maintaining the record.
IFCD officials in the filed said the gauge readings go on to determine flood declaration and set in motion relevant preparations by authorities in wake of any looming floods.
The department also operates a Facebook page where the gauge readings were shared with public to keep them informed of the water level, mainly of River Jhelum.
The officials expressed hope that once the communication blockade ends the real time reading system would resume.