Indian Army begins evacuation operations in Kashmir valley!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Kashmir, a paradise of global tourists, is now a terribly affected zone, affected with natural calamity, with people facing existential threats.
The dangerously looking Jhelum River yesterday crossed the danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.
A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 am at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22.4 feet and 18.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet. If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river.
The Centre sent eight fully equipped NDRF teams to Kashmir to assist the Jammu and Kashmir government in its efforts to safeguard life and property in the wake of the flood situation in the Valley, arisen due to incessant rains that lashed the Valley during past few days,” a J&K government spokesman said. Two NDRF teams comprising 100 personnel have already been rushed by an IAF plane from Bhatinda in Punjab to Srinagar.
Indian forces began evacuation process in Kashmir as fear of the flood situation in Kashmir worsening has emerged again as rainfall hit Srinagar again. The army began evacuation process in Srinagar. Some rainfall took place in Srinagar last night. “Some houses were washed off but there was no loss of lives,” said Lt Gen Subrata Saha of the Indian army. He also said that three bridges had been washed off till now. “We have mobilized resources from north Kashmir…we are prepared to deal with any situation.” Meanwhile, the Jammu-Srinagar highway was re-opened on Tuesday
Flash floods triggered by incessant rain have damaged scores of houses, school buildings and other structures besides snapping road connectivity in the Kashmir Valley. Over 80 structures, including residential homes, school buildings and other structures, have suffered damage due to flash floods since Saturday in Srinagar.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed following landslides at a number of places on Sunday. The Srinagar-Gulmarg road was also closed after a bridge in Kunzar village was washed away by the swollen Ferozepur Nallah. There was water-logging in many commercial and residential areas in Srinagar.
JVMC hospital, a government hospital on the outskirts of Srinagar, was waterlogged. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital. No casualties have been reported due to the floods so far. Flood relief camps have also been set up in Srinagar.
The government has evacuated 221 families to safer places due to heavy rains causing soil erosion and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Budgam district of the state. 10 kg rice has been provided to the each affected family, besides it has also been ensured that all basic amenities are provided to them. He said the district administration, under the supervision of the deputy commissioner, is taking stock of the situation.
People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps. All the employees deployed for flood control have been asked to report for duty immediately.
It was informed that at present there are about 2,000 stranded passengers at GB Jammu and they are being provided free meals by the district administration. The government is making serious efforts for early airlifting of passengers stranded in Jammu following closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the Minister of State for Transport (independent charge), Rural Development and Horticulture told reporters. He directed the district administration to throw open all four halls of JDA at the General Bus Stand for the passengers and also accommodate rest of them at Jammu Haj House.
JK Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took stock of the flood threat and reviewed the preparedness of the administration that has already been put on high alert. The University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
Central minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi deputed by PM Modi to visit the affected Kashmir areas said he has given a report on the situation in Kashmir to Prime Minister Modi and also spoke to him on the issue. He added that the Centre has assured help to Jammu and Kashmir. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that more paramilitary forces were ready and if the situation in Jammu and Kashmir worsens they will be sent to assist in the rescue operations. Para-military forces ready, will be sent if required. It was reported that Jhelum is flowing below its danger mark as flood water in Jammu and Kashmir receded on Tuesday.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today appealed to tourists not to cancel their booking for visiting Kashmir in view of flood threats. “Those of you with bookings to visit Kashmir please don’t rush to cancel. Instead I request you wait to see how things develop,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
State Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today told the Assembly that due to the continuous downpour various areas of Budgam have been affected by way of land erosion and landslides and 221 families have been shifted to safer areas.The minister said 221 families of Chillan Chotinar, Tilsara, Charar-e-Sharief, Nilnag Nagam, Watkloo, Ladden, Bringan, Nego, Hangoo Suresyar, Kumar Mohalla Nagam, Freswar Khansahib, Shalinar Khansahib, Kristwar Chadoora, Suresyar and Branwar villages evacuated.
Jammu Kashmir government has sanctioned Rs 235 crore to meet the situation created by floods in the state, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed announced in the Assembly. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah urged the state government to take all possible measures to ensure prevention of loss to life and property in the Valley in the wake of flood situation. “The administration should take all possible measures and work in close coordination with the locals to ensure that any loss to life and property is prevented at all costs,” Omar said.
Situation has however improved significantly. There has been no rainfall since the last 24 hours and the water level has receded. Two NDRF teams are already working there and New Delhi is sending six more teams with sufficient boats.
According to latest reports, there was no rainfall in the last 28 hours and NDRF confirmed that the situation in Srinagar and adjoining areas is under control now. The Centre said the flood situation in Jammu and Kashmir so far is not as grave as last year but authorities are on alert to deal with any situation. “Situation is not as grave as last time. But we are fully alert and if required we will send more assistance,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said. The Home Minister yesterday had a telephonic conversation with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who gave him a detailed briefing about the flood situation in the state.
The Meteorological Department predicts heavy rainfall will continue for another six days, according to CNN. Around 300 people had died when flash floods had hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. Meanwhile, 45 villagers are trapped in Poonch and the police and army personnel have been sent for rescue. “We are monitoring the situation,” a government official said. DG NDRF said that there is no need to panic as they were working with government officials and everything was under control.
Heavy rainfall is expected in the Valley from today till 3 April. There is no guarantee from the concerned departments that the valley would be normal after that.