People fume as dewatering goes on at sluggish pace
The crisis-like situation continued to persist in J&K’s flood-ravaged summer capital as hundreds of localities remained submerged in the flood waters, forcing the survivors, including children and women, to stay out of their homes for the 17th consecutive day Tuesday.
In several parts of Srinagar, particularly Bemina, Raj Bagh, Jawhar Nagar, Qamarwari and Mehjoor Nagar, thousands of residential houses are still under water, prompting thousands of residents to take shelter in tents or at other places as the government remains in “deep slumber” vis-à-vis making arrangements for their alternate accommodation.
The situation is extremely grim in Bemina, one of the worst-affected areas in the city, as an estimated 5000 to 6000 houses continue to remain inundated ever since the floods hit the Valley on September 7.
“Around two to three feet water is still inside our houses but the government is nowhere for the past 17 days. The so-called dewatering is going on at a sluggish pace. The entire area has been left to fend for itself,” said Reyaz Ahmad, a local.
In the area, strong resentment is brewing against the government for its alleged failure to undertaking dewatering of the inundated localities.
The commercial hub Lal Chowk continued to wore a deserted look as shops and other business establishments remained shut in the wake of government’s failure to undertake dewatering there.
Repeated attempts to get version of the Commissioner Secretary, Irrigation and Flood Control department, Dr. Pawan Kotwal, who is coordinating the dewatering operations, proved futile as he did not respond to repeated calls from this newspaper.
Meanwhile, cellular companies including the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) failed to restore mobile phone and broadband internet connectivity in Srinagar and elsewhere, causing immense inconvenience to people.
“While these companies earn crores of rupees from Kashmir, they have failed to address the issue of poor connectivity in this hour of grief,” a group of flood-survivors said. “The state government is also taking the matter lightly. It is condemnable.”
Meanwhile, electricity is yet to be restored in several parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar—something candidly acknowledged by the government.
“81 per cent electricity has been restored in Kashmir and work is on to restore the entire supply,” Principal Secretary, Power Development Department (PDD), AK Metha, said.
He said of 229 receiving stations, 212 have been restored. “Out of 22,703 distribution transformers, 18,500 are functioning normally and remaining are being restored,” he said.
Mehta said 75 percent electricity in Srinagar, 90 percent in Shopian, 85 percent in Pulwama, 90 percent in Anantnag, 90 percent in Kulgam, 85 percent in Bandipora, 95 percent in Ganderbal, 95 percent in Baramulla, 95 percent in Kupwara and 95 percent in Budgam has been restored.