Swept Away by a day’s Rainfall!
By: Nazim Humayoon
Almost four years have passed since valley witnessed a massive disaster which was one of a kind in centuries. No one needs an explanation of the deluge and the losses and tragedies it caused. Property worth millions damaged and destroyed, lives lost due to the disaster in 2014 which was also referred to as ‘Man Made’ at that point in time considering the immense constructions that have nearly consumed the areas under various wet-lands, flood channels and marshy lands around the rivers.
That was one of a kind disaster and we all prayed and hoped that such a catastrophe may not occur again. That time it was an unexpected event which no one of us would have imagined and unpreparedness and heedless approach of the authorities could be spared to some extent that time.
What we are now witnessing is only the sorry state of affairs of the authorities who do not seem to wake up from the deep slumber after 2014 floods. Warnings after warnings be it in April 2015, June in the same year, also failed to wake them up. How many times since September 2014 we have witnessed alerts after alerts? Has declaring SOS remained the only duty of the authorities now. Is this what they are prepared and geared for.? Didn’t they learn a lesson post-2014 floods? What about dredging of the river Jehlum and many other water bodies?
What about flood channels and river banks which needed to be de-encroached. Have they taken lives of the people for granted? A day on incessant rains and all the spurious preparedness of the authorities is perceptible and clearly observable. Running havoc, repairing bunds during the rains when the rivers are about to overflow is what they could only do. As far as any proactive measures, nothing was witnessed. If the same downpour would have continued for another day or two, Srinagar would have been under many feet of water again.
We could also see immense water logging at many places in and around Srinagar city. See the condition of southern and central areas of Kashmir since the downpour started. The government, whether in or out of power has learnt no lessons time and again. Bunds and embankments which were poorly repaired in 2014 were again breached at many places. Local level help was only being witnessed again and authorities were nowhere to be seen except at a place or two.
The truth is that such things are being taken casually and ultimately the disasters of such kind only expose the failures of the authorities who time and again repeat the mistakes only at the cost of peoples’ lives. A friend of mine from central Kashmir’s Budgam called on the helpline number issued by the authorities and was shocked that the calls went unanswered and subsequently switched off. Is this what the authorities are bragging about? Is this the preparedness they are boasting about? If such apathetic, insensitive and deaf to attitude is continued by the administration, we will soon witness another 2014 like situation.