Who will ostracise ghosts of the Sept. 6, 2014 Kashmir floods?

Srinagar, Sep 6 (IANS) Few Kashmiris can forget the night of September 6, 2014 and the horror that continued for nearly a month after unprecedented floods hit Jammu and Kashmir this day last year. Summer capital Srinagar bore the brunt of nature’s fury on that day.

As scores of houses collapsed in Srinagar’s posh residential areas, so did the state government and the capacity of the administration to organise timely rescue and relief operations.

Thousands of people in Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Wazir Bagh, Gogjibagh, Rambagh, Solina, Barzalla, Chanapora, Bemina, Natipora, Nowpora, Karan Nagar, Shetrashshi and Qamarwari areas hurriedly left their homes, leaving behind everything they had put together in their nests.

These were the ‘fortunate’ ones, the less fortunate ones got trapped by flood waters those rose right unto over 15 feet from the plinth levels of their homes.

The trapped residents took refuge in the attics of their submerged homes, waiting for the administration to rescue them.

The government that they pinned their hopes on could not function because its highest office and the seat of governance, the civil secretariat, was inundated and became inaccessible for the chief minister, his ministerial colleagues and all the senior bureaucrats of the state.

Not that any government in power could have prevented the flood or its magnitude, but the suffering and trauma of the trapped people and their friends and relatives could have been mitigated if rescue operations had been started promptly and been conducted efficiently.

Locals living in those areas of Srinagar that were not hit by the floods, especially those living in the old city, did a commendable job.

Youths, who otherwise engaged in stone pelting clashes with the police and the central paramilitary forces, started relief operations that helped not only many trapped civilians but also police and paramilitary personnel in the inundated areas.

The army launched helicopter sorties and motorised boats to rescue civilians and its own personnel.

Locals augmented the efforts of the National Disaster Relief Force and the army. Given the magnitude of the floods, it was as feared hundreds could have died, not only in the deluge but also in house collapses.

It was fortunate that only 30 lives were lost in the Valley, and the victims included three army personnel who died during the relief and rescue operation.

Losses to individual properties and businesses ran into thousands of crores of rupees.

The state government sent a loss-memo of Rs.44,000 crores ($6.5 billion) to the central government for immediate assistance.

That was in October 2014. After the state assembly elections in November-December of that year, a new coalition government took office in Jammu and Kashmir in March.

That loss-memo is still gathering dust with the central government.

Ordinary citizens, including government servants, transport operators, street vendors, shopkeepers and hoteliers, have started rebuilding their homes and businesses.

Tourism this year did not pick up to expected levels because the threat of another deluge loomed large on everybody’s mind as rivers and other water bodies got swollen each time it rained.

Experts say silt and sand have raised the beds of all the water bodies of Kashmir, including its largest river, the Jhelum.

Massive dredging operations are needed to ensure that normal rivers do not cause future floods in the Valley.

Autumn has again set in Kashmir. The countryside is slowly turning golden brown because of the ripening paddy fields.

The soothing warmth of the autumnal sun provides the best opportunity to local youths and elders for outing. It is the best season in Kashmir, but the scars left behind by the autumnal floods of 2014 will take ages to heal.

5 Comments

  1. “Youths, who otherwise engaged in stone pelting clashes with the police and the central paramilitary forces, started relief operations that helped not only many trapped civilians but also police and paramilitary personnel in the inundated areas” writes some unknown author.

    Not even a single word on all the help and rescue operations carried out by Indian military. Not even a single word on those pro-pakistaani groups who took help from Indian troops and turned around to attack them in the middle of the crisis. Instead, author seems to be more sympathetic towards those stone-pelting crowds giving them all the credit!! I guess this is what goes for journalism in today’s India.

    • Not even a single word on all the help and rescue operations carried out by Indian military – Rampanna

      Arre Rampa, I thought that it was the RSS who carried out those rescue operations while the Indian Military were just playing nursemaids and ‘band-aid stickers’ (so to speak)!

      Please remember how you never forget to include RSS’ಅಕ್ಕ along with ದೊಡ್ಡಣ್ಣ, ಬೊಡ್ಡಣ್ಣ, ಇಸ್ರೇಲ್’ಅಣ್ಣಾ, ರಾಂಪಣ್ಣ, ಧೂಂಪಣ್ಣ etc when it comes to Military prowess/might & Rescue Services.

      And then again, you have the bare facts – those from RSS’ಅಕ್ಕ – who are best suited for strutting around like ಪೂಂಜಾ’ಸ್ season and the bejesus outta college-going girls and guys! 🙂

      • Joker Praveena Pinto is too afraid of pro-Paak elements to give credit for all the help done by Indian forces. How sad! He would rather attack RSS and indian military than confronting pro-Paaki groups!! Well, this is what goes for secularism in India these days.

        • He would rather attack RSS and indian military than confronting pro-Paaki groups!! – Rampa to me

          Pyare Joker Pai,

          So you want ME to “confront” the Paki terror est. vis their pro-paki groups by giving them a few ಕೆಟ್ಟ ಪದ’s, eh? And that too on a Community forum like Mcom? AND exactly WHAT good will it do? Hasn’t our beloved ಲೂಯಿಸ್ ಮಾಮ್ been doing just that from ages back? To back our fearless ಮಾಮ್, we have NONE other YOU who has been taking potshots at the pro-paki groups with your alsande peashooter!

          So, after facing such unrelentingly SCYTHING attacks from none other than our ಲೂಯಿಸ್ ಮಾಮ್ AND ಒರಿಜಿನಲ್ ಯಮ್ರೀಕೀ ರಾಂಪ, have those ಉದ್ಧ ಗಡ್ಡ’s dropped their AK-47’s and RDX down the Jhelum river and turned over a new leaf once and for all? Have your combined relentless “efforts” yielded any fruit? No right? The sisterly-minded RSS’akkas have been crying themselves hoarse since the days of the Partition!

          AND yet, you want me to “CONFRONT” those pro-paki groups by writing a few words/lines, AND that too OUT HERE just to hog some ‘net-space’ and assuage my ಅಖಂಡ ಭಾರತ ego, right? And hope for the best, right? And YOU want me to chant “YES WE CAN” while I do it – like you two did, right,? Right ya Rampa?

          Your Jokes have passed the Magna Cum laude class! :):)

          Praveena Kush Hua
          Jai Rampa Ki
          More jokes pl. 🙂

  2. Instead, author seems to be more sympathetic towards those stone-pelting crowds giving them all the credit!! -Atheist Mr.Original Pai

    Sir, Modi government airlife 4000 Indians from Yemen crisis and made big public stunt. While Congress made rescue after Kuwait siege by Saddam forces many folds but never took credit.

    He goes to Uttarakhand post disaster and offers all assistance including rebuilding the Kedarnath Temple.In Kashmir he takes air survey while Uttarakhand he offers Rambo service.

    When will ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ riot survivors will get the proper shelters which he described as baby making factory.

    Jai Hind

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