Respite for Jammu Kashmir: Fear of floods over, say officials

Srinagar: Fears about Kashmir witnessing floods like last September ended on Thursday with the government declaring that there is no threat now as the water level in the river Jhelum was much below the danger mark despite overnight rainfall.

Jhelum was flowing at 14.10 feet at Sangam in south Kashmir, nearly nine feet below the danger mark, while the water level at Ram Munshi Bagh in the city was 15.25 feet, an official of the Flood Control Department said.

 Respite for Jammu Kashmir: Fear of floods over, say officials

The rainfall overnight had resulted in the rise in water level in Jhelum. AFP

The rainfall overnight had resulted in the rise in water level in Jhelum but there was no immediate threat of floods, he said.

"The weather has improved since late last night and if it holds like this, the worst phase might already be over," the official said. He, however, said moderate rainfall was forecast for Friday at many places in the Valley but it should not lead to a flood situation.

Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar too said that the worst phase of inclement weather was over.

"There is no flood. There was some panic among the people because of the last year's situation. But right now all the rivers are running much below the danger-level and there is normal activity across the state."

The weather forecast for Thursday onwards is quite normal, he said, adding "the worst phase has passed."

Kashmir, which saw unprecedented deluge in September last year, was in the grip of fear after water level rose above the danger mark in Jhelum on Monday and several low-lying areas got flooded after a few days of rainfall.

The Centre and the state government swung into action and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was pressed into service to evacuate the affected people and army was put on standby. Hundreds of people were shifted to safer places in the Valley where 16 people were killed after four houses collapsed in a village.

Even as the weather improved, authorities are taking no chances and have put in place measures to deal with any eventuality.

Akhtar said there is no need for panic and the administration is on alert. "...We are doing what we have to and people have seen that change in Srinagar and other districts.

Akhtar said there were problems of water-logging in some places and efforts were underway to dewater those areas.

"There is some water-logging in some areas. This season is generally rainy here and these problems remain in the months of March and April... We are mechanically trying to dewater those areas where there is water-logging. But there is no danger. We are using pumps to dewater such areas," he said.

An official of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) said temporary shelters have been set up for people evacuated from flood prone areas. He said NDRF and SDRF teams have been put on a stand by.

Army had also put in place several measures to help the people in affected areas of the Valley in dealing with the situation obtaining due to heavy rains.

The minister said people from across the country and the world should visit Kashmir Valley as it would be much greener and better this year.

"Our Tulip Garden will be thrown open tomorrow and there will be blossoms everywhere, and through you, I invite everybody in the rest of the country and the world to visit Kashmir, which, because of the rains, will be a much greener place and a much better place to come to," he said.

Akhtar said the government will start a drive to remove illegal constructions near water bodies to allow free passage of water. "Especially to begin with we will start from those areas where water flow has been obstructed. The district administrations have been instructed to remove such obstructions."

PTI

Updated Date: Apr 02, 2015 18:48:29 IST