SRINAGAR Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday termed claims by successive governments regarding foolproof flood prevention as mere lip service.
Addressing a Friday gathering at historic Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz said just two days of rainfall in the Valley punctured the all claims of the administration as the flood threat loomed large across the region and brought about the haunting memories of deluge of 2014.
He said that it was so unfortunate that all the successive regimes and administrations made tall claims of framing a foolproof flood prevention plan but all remained confined to lip servicing only. He said in todays age of science and technology, the present administration doesnt even come with any concrete plan or any use of technology to deal with the flood threat which is quite ironical.
He said that Jehlum flood channel has an absorption capacity of just 4000 cusecs due to siltation. If proper dredging is done under a plan the holding capacity can increase to more than 30000 cusecs due to ill-conceived plans of dredging that was left midway, and the blockade and encroachment of all the erstwhile flood channels that used to flush out the waters of Jehlum in times of flood threats, he said.
Mirwaiz said that ironically not even a single flood spill channel was constructed by any of the previous regimes let alone the present administration. He said despite knowing the fact that Kashmir was vulnerable to rainfall and rise in water level due to its topography and weather conditions, the successive regimes gave illegal permissions to the hotels and other illegal constructions on the banks of flood channels and also on the banks of river Jehlum.
Mirwaiz said that major flood channels that include Gilsar, Khushal Sar, Anchar, Wular and Brari Nambal have more or less vanished and there is a mushrooming growth of illegal constructions while as successive regimes acted as mute spectators making Kashmir more vulnerable to catastrophe.
Mirwaiz said that while all the previous regimes are too held responsible for their failures, people of Kashmir themselves are also to be blamed. We also need to introspect and identify our own mistakes. Mirwaiz said that many places locals have illegally occupied government land, streams, river banks, and the corners at flood-spill channels and constructed hotels, houses, mosques, Darsgahs, and even graveyards, etc adding to their own miseries during rains.
He said that illegal encroachment and constructions have to be stopped and people made to take responsibility for their actions. He asked the administration to come up with a modernized flood prevention plan and to give special attention to dredging and opening of flood channels so that flood like the situation is doesnt occur with every spell of rainfall.
He also asked the government to remove the encroachments on traditional flood spill channels so that Kashmir doesnt come on the brink of flood threat just after every two days of rainfall.
Meanwhile, Mirwaiz paid rich tributes to veteran journalist and writer Syed Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed along with his two guards on June 14, 2018 stating that Bukhari was a bold and brave journalist besides a great sympathizer of Kashmiri people and a good human being, who was snatched from Kashmiris during Iftaar time outside his office. Mirwaiz paid for the highest standards in Janah for the deceased Bukhari.