Free Press Journal

Mehbooba expresses concern over slow pace of Jhelum dredging


Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has expressed concern over the slow pace of dredging works on Jhelum river post the 2014 floods, and has asked officials to carry out the project speedily.

The Chief Minister reviewed the progress of the dredging of Jhelum from Anantnag to Baramulla district during a high-level meeting held at SKICC here yesterday, an official spokesman said today.

This was the first review meeting of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFC) which was chaired by Mehbooba after taking over as the Chief Minister of the state.

During the meeting, the spokesman said the Chief Minister was briefed about ‘Dredging as a Component of Flood Mitigation’, which is part of the first phase of comprehensive plan for flood management works on Jhelum, sanctioned recently by the Centre at a cost of Rs 399.29 crore.

Mehbooba noted with serious concern the extremely slow pace of work by Kolkata-based Reach Dredgers, which has been tasked with mechanical dredging of 16,00,000 cubic metres along the Srinagar and Baramulla stretches of the river, the spokesman said.

He said the Chief Minister emphasized that weekly  timelines be fixed to ensure that dredging works are carried out speedily in order to relieve people from perpetual fear of floods that grips them during heavy rains.

“People have waited for a long time and any further delay in dredging work will be totally unacceptable,” she stated. Presently, two master dredgers engaged by Reach Dredgers are carrying out mechanical dredging at Shivpora and Sopore.

However, only 2,000 cubic metres of dredging of Jhelum has been carried out since the work was allotted to the firm, the Chief Minister was informed.

The Chief Minister also asked the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to issue directions to concerned Deputy Commissioners to provide support to IFC department in speeding up dredging in their respective districts, the spokesman said.

Mehbooba also directed the Chief Engineer IFC to immediately commence work on those stretches of land which have been retrieved from encroachers.