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Defunct drainage system pesters Srinagarites

Experts blame lack of coordination between allied departments
12:53 AM May 20, 2024 IST | Auqib Salam
defunct drainage system pesters srinagarites

Srinagar, May 19: Defunct drainage system in various areas of the summer capital is taking a heavy toll on people.


A spell of rain causes massive waterlogging in most of the areas in Srinagar exposing poor drainage system in the city.


People mince no words to blame authorities for failing to provide an efficient drainage system despite spending crores of rupees.


They said that despite different departments, including the Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL), pumping millions of rupees into the rejuvenation of Srinagar, drainage system is yet to be restored. Locals said that departments like SMC, UEED, and R&B have failed to properly coordinate to ensure a flawless drainage system.


“We all saw drainage failure at multiple levels during recent rains. Road at Boulevard, Downtown, and Uptown were flooded after a downpour. This is routine whenever there are rains, but this time, the downpour was heavier, which exposed the poor drainage system,” said Fazil Ahmad, a local from Shalimar.


Last month authorities received brickbats on the waterlogging around newly revamped roads and other sites in Srinagar. “Authorities resort to quick-fix solutions during waterlogging after rains,” said Amir Bhat, another commuter.


An official, while passing the buck on the R&B department, said that the road that was waterlogged on Boulevard was under the jurisdiction of R&B, and they were supposed to fix that, not them.


Chief Engineer R&B Sajad Naquib while acknowledging the road falls under their jurisdiction said that the drainage is the part of the project on the Boulevard stretch that falls under his department.

“We will ensure to fix the drainage where water has been accumulating so that commuters don’t suffer,” Naquib said.

Meanwhile, the locals said that the situation in the dug-up downtown has been equally problematic. They said that waterlogging and drainage issues have been long problem, and so has the slow pace of road projects.

An official said that multiple departments are working on drainage, and at times, that delays the process. “In Downtown, including Nawab Bazar, there was a footpath and other work as part of SSCL. There was another department working as well, so we had to wait for them to finish their part to do ours,” said an official from Srinagar Smart City.

When asked why there was waterlogging on the newly constructed site near Nishat which falls under SSCL, the official said, “The work is ongoing there. We have completed one side of the platform and Gazebos, and when we complete the whole part, the drainage issue will be part of that, and there will be no problem.”

The Smart City also received criticism for the slow progress of Downtown roads and other projects. The locals said that they have been suffering for almost two years now.

Chief Engineer Smart City Qayoom Kirmani said that all SSCL projects are done while considering the drainage part. He said that once the projects get the final touch, there won’t be any issues with the projects executed by SSCL.

“In Downtown, all the road projects, footpaths, and other infrastructures are planned with proper drainage. At times, locals face inconvenience because we want to do it properly from scratch. In every project, we address drainage, lay down pipes, and underground electrification where necessary so that once the project is complete, there is no loophole,” Kirmani said.

The officials said they will prioritise the blacktopping, proper drainage, and footpaths on the project in Downtown and uptown areas.

Many experts believe that the lack of coordination between different departments and proper planning has taken a toll on all projects in Srinagar city.

Hammid Ahmad Wani, a senior Town planner, said that as per the municipality act, all the functions, be it roads, drains, PDD, or even health or education, have to be vested and transferred to Municipal corporations, which will coordinate everything.

“When these functions have been partially transferred, like in the case of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, it gets difficult to coordinate. There has to be a dedicated agency that will overlook every project, and then we won’t see a lack of coordination and failure of any project,” Wani said.

Officials said that different departments, such as SMC, UEED, SSCL, and R&B, are currently maintaining and constructing drains. Likewise, roads and other projects are also being executed by various departments, including SSCL, SMC, and R&B. Experts say that unless there is proper accountability and coordination, Srinagar cannot “Borrow European designs then coordinate in a pathetic way leads to problems to the local population,” an expert said.