Kashmir Drainage System in Shambles

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Drainage systems are key areas of development and contribute to sustainable development  of city and  balance the diverse issues that influence the development of communities. An efficient drainage system has to take into account many realities. Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) and amenity issues are collectively referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Kashmir Valley has over the decades seen its drainage system going from bad to worse. Few hours of rain are enough to waterlog and flood the streets of Srinagar city and other areas of Kashmir. Thanks to inefficient drainage system Kashmir gets converted into a cesspool of mud and water as soon as it rains . The drains start  overflowing with just few millimeters of rains . Be it heart of Srinagar the areas like  Maisuma, Regal chowk, MA Road or Old City areas of Nowhatta and Khanyar  and many other parts the drainage system fails immediately  . On the other hand, scores of areas have no drainage system  in place. The low lying areas are the worst hit where residents state that  slight shower blocked flow of water and as streets gets choked they are restricted to homes.

Importantly, the devastating floods that shattered Kashmir Valley in 2014 had caused much damage to its fragile drainage system but no noticeable efforts have been made to repair the same. No new drainage project had been started in the last few years which are complicating the matters further.

Sheikh Sameer, a teacher by profession, while commenting on this issue states-“The drainage system of entire Kashmir Valley presents an abject outlook. During this current rain-spell it has been badly exposed, with water logging and Jamming almost entire Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley. There are many illegal structures – few of them even inside the flood spill channels. Many government offices have come inside or near those channels. They have been choked leaving a little room for water to discharge. Unfortunately enough, our world famous  lakes have  slowly migrated from the status of being a fresh water lakes to becoming a part of drainage system where they have  become a recipient of all the discharges from households to industrial effluents without these wastes actually being checked by  any filtering systems. We are witness  to the fact that government is sleeping over the issue. Pertinently,  Illegal encroachment are  still going on rather intensified after September 2014 floods and no initiative have been taken  to take them task. In the majority of the areas of Kashmir the drainage system has failed miserably . It is important that all drainage systems are properly maintained and at  regular intervals .Government need to outsource this entire Drainage and flood management system as the current setup is failing to achieve any concrete result on this count.”

As a matter of great worry, our existing  drainage systems  causes grave problems of flooding, pollution or damage to the environment and are not proving to be sustainable in the context of wider challenges from climate change and urbanization, and current drainage system   is virtually in mess   .

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