Continuous rainfall triggers another flood panic in Kashmir; Met dept denies any chance of flood

By Raqib Hameed Naik,,

Srinagar: In wake of heavy rainfall in Kashmir valley, the Jammu and Kashmir state government on Sunday deputed four ministers to monitor rising water levels in Kashmir valley. Even Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is on his way to Srinagar to personally monitor the arising situation.

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Heavy rains have lashed the Kashmir valley since last evening leading to sudden surge in water level of rivers, streams and rivulets, causing panic among the residents about possibility of fresh floods even as the MeT department warned of week Long wet weather in the state.

Continuous rainfall triggers another flood panic in Kashmir; Met dept denies any chance of flood

“At 11am, the water level at Sangam, Srinagar stands at 12 feet against the alarm level of 18 feet” Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh informed the Legislative Assembly

“At Ram Munshibagh the water level stands at 12.6 feet against alarm level of 16 feet, while as at Asham the water level has been recorded as 8.50 feet against alarm level of 30 feet,” he said in an official hand-out.

Hundreds of families putting up in houses near the banks of river Jhelum from Nayina to Lethpora area have started shifting to safer locations in view of increase in water level in the river, reports said

Fearing that the river might swell again as it did during devastating floods in September last year, panicky residents have started relocating.

A special control room has been established at Police headquarter Srinagar to monitor the situation. The helpline numbers of the control room are 2452138, 2474040.

The rainfall has also forced closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway due to landslides at some places, an official of the Traffic Department said.

No flood threat to Kashmir Valley: Met

Meanwhile, the Met department has clarified that the Kashmir Valley faces no flood threat, as many residents of Srinagar began shifting to safer areas as the water level in the Jhelum rose menacingly.

Sonam Lotus, director of the meteorological office, on Sunday dismissed any flood threat to the Kashmir Valley.

His word should bring relief to residents in Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar and Gogjibagh areas of Srinagar, many of who began shifting valuables to homes of friends and relatives in the old city part of Srinagar on Sunday.

The flood control department, which is on high alert, told IANS that the present water level in Jhelum was much below the danger mark of 18 feet at Ram Munshibagh and so there was no reason to panic.

Continuous rainfall triggers another flood panic in Kashmir; Met dept denies any chance of flood

“We have kept the entire administration including the flood control department on alert,” Gazanfar Hussain, Kashmir’s divisional commissioner, told reporters here. “There is no reason to panic.”

Official assurances, however, mean little to the people of flood-prone areas where the September 2014 flooding caused widespread destruction. The scars and memories of that period still haunt the locals.

Lotus told IANS on Sunday: “Although there has been a rise in the water level of rivers and streams in the Kashmi Valley due to overnight incessant rains, there is no reason to worry.

“Every downpour and precipitation does not bring a flood. There is little likelihood of any flood in the valley because of the current western disturbance. There will be a decrease in precipitation tomorrow onwards.

“Another western disturbance is likely to hit the state on April 2 but that is going to be weaker than the present one.

“Therefore, I do not think we are facing a flood threat this time although mountain streams need to be watched for any sudden rise that can cause local damage and trigger landslides.”

Lotus, however, advised people to exercise caution on the Srinagar-Jammu highway which he said could get blocked due to landslides in Ramban district.

(With Inputs from IANS)

(Photo credit: Greater Kashmir)