Weather Woes

KASHMIR has seen an extended rainy season after a winter that was mainly dry and also saw a significant jump in temperature in February. The meteorological department has been predicting erratic weather since March. And as things stand, the weather seems likely to re­main uncertain going forward. This has pushed the temperature down, which is not good for farming.

Another fear is that the recurrent rain could trig­ger floods. We have been on the verge of floods for the past two months due to the prolonged rain. The possibility of another flood will persist if the weather doesn’t get better. And if this happens, it would be a disaster. The memory of the 2014 deluge and its de­structive fallout is still fresh in the minds of the peo­ple. And it could very well happen again.

These are legitimate fears considering we are still far from building credible safeguards against the prospect of a future flood. The carrying capacity of Jhelum is yet to be adequately enhanced to accom­modate excess water. Though a government project to do so has been ongoing since 2014, it is yet to be completed. So, the administration would need to pro­actively work on the project to reduce the chances of yet another big flood. And until that happens, people will continue to live in dread of rain.

Every time, erratic rain extends for a longer dura­tion in a warmer season, we are reminded of our hap­less vulnerability to flooding. More so, in Srinagar whose new-found susceptibility to flood threatens to put a question mark on its viability as a summer capi­tal. That is, unless we conceive and execute a course of action that drastically reduces this vulnerability.

On the other hand, one benefit of colder weather in spring has been the rise in tourist inflow. Tourists are flocking to Kashmir in large numbers. Around 2.5 lakh tourists visited the Valley in the first two months of this year and since then the numbers have only gone further grown. The recently concluded tulip festival attracted over 3.75 lakh tourists, while Gulmarg saw over 2 lakh tourists during the winter. Last year, J&K witnessed over 26.7 lakh tourist arriv­als, the highest in the last three decades. These are impressive figures.

The growing tourism has gone a long way to shore up Kashmir’s economy and bring back employment lost to the successive security and COVID-19 lock­down. The boom in the sector is also having a posi­tive spillover effect on other sectors. That said, a big flood has the potential to undo the gains of tourism. So, the administration needs to ensure that the city’s water bodies such as Jhelum and flood channels have sufficient capacity to take the rainwater.

Follow this link to join our WhatsApp group: Join Now

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.



Comments are closed.