The beautiful valley of Srinagar, once called the Venice of India is lost somewhere amidst the flood waters. Floods struck Jammu and Kashmir months back taking away all the magnificence imbibed in the city from prehistoric times.
The chaos in Srinagar can be attributed to unplanned development plans of the State government which devastated the water bodies and natural linkages. Ad hoc constructions left no way for ferocious waters to move, leading them into the city. Between 1911 and 2014, over 9,000 hectares of water bodies and marshy lands have been lost due to encroachments. Dal Lake has been reduced to one third of its original size.
Out of all, Dal Lake is the only less degraded one. Floating islands the splendor of these lakes once, are permanent fixtures now with houses and buildings on top of it. The ecology and natural waters have been dislocated. The water bodies of Srinagar like Nala Amir Khan, Gilsar, Kuta Kul, Choonth Kula have been turned into drainages. Wetlands like Hokarsar and Narakor, Anchar and Brari Nambal are more like garbage dumps now.
In 1992 also J&K received same amount of rainfall but the water quantity in Jhelum River was about 30,000 cusecs less. And it was primarily because of better quality forests and water channels which helped removing excess water.
What use to be canals back in history are now two lane pucca roads with shopping complexes and offices on both sides. The man’s vandalism of natural waters bodies and forest covers led to this catastrophe.
Playing the blame game will not help, this dent on beauty of Srinagar will last forever.
By: Jeevanjot Ghuman