Srinagar, Aug 8: In an example of administrative inertia, the lacks of coordination between different departments have halted the work on drainage schemes in Kashmir, bringing much inconvenience to people.
The government has issued directives to departments several times to make coordination in developmental works. Despite that there is lack of coordination resulting the developmental works on drainage get affected.
Sources said that the state government had taken over hundreds of drainage schemes in Kashmir over the years. However most of them could not be completed due to lack of funds and lack of coordination between various departments.
Sources said that under the centrally sponsored scheme-Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and with the financial assistance of the World Bank, the government last year had said that 90 percent ‘proper’ drainage system will be in place in Srinagar by 2021. “Presently only 37 percent Srinagar city has drainage system. Under AMRUT scheme, the centre will provide Rs 390 crore in the next five years for 90 percent drainage system in Srinagar and Rs 300 crore will be from the World Bank project for it,” the government had said.
However sources said that the Srinagar city and other main towns of the Kashmir continue to face poor drainage system that was in place a decade ago. “The lack of drainage system always poses a serious threat of water logging in Kashmir even by the average downpour. It has been learnt that around 500 drainage schemes were started over the years in Kashmir but less than 200 have been completed while work on other schemes have been stopped due to non-releasing of funds,” sources maintained.
The official said the poor drainage system was the main reason for water logging in Srinagar during rains. “But areas that have drainage system don’t face any problem of water logging,” he added.
Sources said the lack of coordination between different departments was one of the main reasons for non-improvisation of drainage system. “The R&B department first makes the construction of roads then we have to spend a lot of money in making the drainage system and then on repairing of roads. Before any road construction, the drainage system shall be in place prior to that,” an official of the Housing and Urban Development department insisted not to be named said. He said the government has issued strict directions to departments to make coordination in developmental works. “Departments have been told that proper drainage system should be put in place before developmental works like constructions of roads and buildings are being made in any area,” the official said.
The official said that the state government’s failure to restore the drainage system of summer capital after the 2014 September floods had prompted the World Bank to provide funds for installation of 42 dewatering pumps in Srinagar city.
The drainage system in the valley, especially in Srinagar city, was badly hit during the 2014 floods. The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) has also not been able to restore it permanently.
Take an example of Srinagar’s commercial hub, Lal Chowk, the drainage work has been completed but the material is still lying on road giving commuters a tough time. The stretch starting from Lambert lane up to Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) is dotted with potholes.
Although the project work has been completed but the construction material lies scattered and roads are not macadamized. “The drainage has been completed by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation but still there is lack of coordination between departments as Roads and Buildings Department is yet to macadamised the road,” an official of Roads and Buildings Department said.
The official said that Roads and Buildings Department should have started the macadamisation work once the drainage work was completed by the SMC. “But these people are not bothered about the inconveniences people are facing,” the official said.
The road infrastructure is further known to deteriorate due to frequent spells of rain, causing potholes to widen, which invariably causes water-logging and accidents. “The overall problem is exacerbated by the lack of coordination among various departments,” the official said.
An official of the Housing and Urban Development Department said, “The R&B department first makes the construction of roads then we have to spend a lot of money in making the drainage system and then on repairing of roads. Before any road construction, the drainage system shall be in place prior to that.”
Similarly, in Srinagar’s Jahangir Chowk, roads are in a bad shape as the construction of Rambagh to Lal-Chowk Jahangir is underway. The dug out material on the roads causes frequent traffic snarls.
“I get stuck in a traffic jam every day. Despite leaving home an hour before the office time, I get late,” said Khalid Ahmad, a resident of Rambagh.
Likewise, the road near Iqbal Park, roads leading to Chanapora are also in a shabby condition.
Such a non-serious attitude of departments could prove fatal for the commuters. (KNS)