J&K Govt Launches New Study For Flood Hazard Risk Assessment In Kashmir

KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Eight years after devastating floods hit the Kashmir Valley, the Jal Shakti, previously known as Irrigation & Flood Control Department is carrying out a study for assessing the flood hazard risk wherein an Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) coupled with a Decision Support System will be made for effective and prompt response for any flood related disaster in the Union Territory.

According to the government, the consultancy for this assignment has been outsourced to M/S RMS Pvt. Ltd.

The department has said this in a detailed status report submitted before the High Court (HC) of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh regarding framing of scheme for flood control and improvement of embankments of river Jhelum.
The status report was filed by Principal Secretary, Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC) in pursuance to the directions of the High Court order.

The government submitted that under long term measures, several studies are underway and are likely to be completed within the next six months.

“The outcome of these studies shall lay foundation for future strategies to be adopted for Comprehensive Flood Management in Kashmir Valley which is aimed to help us in mitigating floods of 1, 15, 000 Cusecs at Sangam as witnessed during 2014,” the status report reads, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer.

The government submitted that the Jal Shakti department through the Project Management Unit of Jhelum: Tawi food Recovery project (JTFRP) has undertaken Morphological Study of River Jhelum for the Flood mitigation.

“The study is currently going on wherein a 2D- Hydrodynamic model is being made and the various possible structural and non-structural measures will be studied and a comprehensive DPR for the same shall be formulated and put up to the government for approval,” the status report noted.

According to the government, the consultancy for this assignment has been outsourced to MA/S Eptisa Servicios de Ingenierin,S.L.(Spain).

Pertinently, the court was hearing a PIL filed by Environmental Policy Group (EPG), an Environment-Social think tank, through its Convenor, Faiz Ahmad Bakshi alleging that the Jal Shakti department miserably failed in increasing the carrying capacity of river Jhelum, Wullar and other water bodies.

The Court then passed the direction asking Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti Department to file the status report.

The government submitted that after the devastating floods of September 2014 and on subsequent instructions of Prime Minister of India, a three members group headed by Chairman, CWC was constituted by Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR, RD&GR), Govt. of India on 18 September 2014 to conduct an in-depth study and analysis of the unprecedented floods in J&K so as to make suitable recommendations along with a detailed action plan to manage the future flood threat in Kashmir Valley.

It submitted that the core group comprising of Chairman Central Water Commission, Commissioner Indus and the Director National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee recommended immediate, short term and long term measures.

Immediate Measures After 2014 Floods

The government submitted that under this, the department plugged all the breaches and restored 3316 number of spots under temporary restoration and 1235 spots under Permanent Restoration at a cost of Rs. 172.7383 Cr. and Rs. 153.4335 Crore. The department also executed numerous flood restoration works throughout the valley like Re-sectioning, Channelization of River, Nallahs, Crate Protection works, Strengthening/ Raising of embankments of both Jhelum and its tributaries for which the funds were released

Short Term Measures

The Jal Shakti department said that in the short term the measures were conceived in two phases Phase-l and Phase-ll.

Phase-l

The department submitted that till the long-term food mitigation measures would get conceived and approved, a Priority Fond Management Project was formulated for urgent works wherein the main objective was to remove the immediate and the major bottlenecks in the River Jhelum & Flood Spill Channel to provide immediate relief from floods of low to moderate magnitude.
In phases-I of the project, the department used Rs. 399.29 Crore released by the central government for comprehensive plan for Flood Management Works on Jhelum

It may be noted that phase-I was supposed to be completed in the year 2018, however the department missed several deadlines and the project is yet to be completed. The department submitted that the work in the Phase-1 is nearing completion with the date of completion slated as August, 2022.

The department said the after the Phase-I, the carrying capacity of Jhelum was enhanced to 31800 cuses to 41000 cuses from Sangam to Padshahi Bagh and from 27000 cuses to 32000 cuses at Ram Munshibagh in Srinagar while in North Kashmir, the carrying capacity of the Jhelum was enhanced from 20000 cusec to 22700 cuses at Nigli in Wullar, and from 31000 cusec to 35000 cusec at river Jhelum in Sopore.

Phase-II

The department said, as per the recommendations of the CW, the discharge carrying Capacity of the River Jhelum is proposed to be increased to 60,000 cusec at Sangam and 61110 cusec at Ningli Sopore.

It said the department during the execution of the Phase-l, started preparations of formulation for the DPR for Phase-II by first carrying out the Mathematical Model Studies of River Jhelum through Central Water power Research Station, Pune, at an estimated cost of Rs. 5411.54 Cr. and the same was submitted to the central government on 17 January 2019 for approval.

The court has now sought a response on the status report from amicus curiae, Advocate Nadeem Qadri.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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