I & FC Dept Rules Out Dredging Jhelum River

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- At a time when people have raised concerns over the falling water level of river Jhelum to a 70-year low, the irrigation and flood control (I&FC) department on Tuesday ruled out dredging or desiltation operations in the river from Sangam to Asham citing a study carried out three years after the devastating 2014 floods.

An official told Kashmir Observer that the I & FC Department is already carrying out a dredging process in the lower areas of Jhelum on the basis of recommendations suggested by experts.

Notably, with water level in the river Jhelum abruptly falling down to a 70-year low in the month of September, the netizens are demanding desiltation of the river in order to avoid flood like situation.


Interestingly, pictures of houseboats standing on the dry riverbeds of Jhelum have started doing rounds on popular social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“Since the water level is very low, this is the best time to carry-out the delisting process, especially in Srinagar,” Yasin Ahmad, a resident of Abi Guzar here, told Kashmir Observer.

Read Also Dry Weather Conditions: Water Level In Jhelum Drops To 70-Year Low In Photos | Dry Spell Hits Jhelum

However, Chief Engineer I&FC Kashmir, Naresh Kumar told Kashmir Observer that the desilting of river Jhelum in Srinagar was not required at the moment.

In 2017, Kumar said, a study was carried out by the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, suggesting that the 90-kilometre stretch from Sangam to Asham doesn't need dredging or desilting as the same can be counter-productive.

“They had carried-out a thorough study and found that the depth in the patch of the Jhelum is higher than other areas,” Kumar said, adding“Mining in this area has being going on since decades”

While quoting the study, Kumar further said that the floods according to the scientists will travel faster to Srinagar if desliting is carried out on Sangam to Asham patch.

“Yes, we can go for resectioning of the river, wherever it is needed,” he added.

Echoing similar views, another official from the I&FC department said that dredging was not the only solution and it can be sometimes devastating

“The CWPRS further said that the dredging in this patch will not help flood mitigation,” the official told Kashmir Observer, on the condition of anonymity.

It may be noted that following the devastating floods in 2014, the central government sanctioned a plan for the comprehensive flood management of the Jhelum River and its tributaries. The project was funded through the Prime Minister's Development Package, and divided into two phases.

The phase-I was completed by the end of 2020 after missing several deadlines. The government said that this phase – which mostly involved the dredging of the river to remove sediment – would enhance the discharge carrying capacity of the Jhelum from 31,800 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs.

The officials said Phase II of the plan would increase the carrying capacity of river Jhelum and its flood spill channel by 20,000 cusecs through dredging. At present, the carrying capacity of Jhelum is around 31,000 cusecs while that of the flood channel is around 8,700 cusecs.

Notably, the valley is experiencing dry weather and above normal temperatures for last eight weeks, adversely affecting horticulture and agriculture sector production, particularly apple crop

The ongoing dry weather has also led to a fall in the water level of other water bodies as well. The volume in the water bodies of the valley has dropped around 75% than normal, according to reports.

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