Sumera B. Reshi Residents
The maintenance of the drainage networks is critical for avoiding repeated floods; however, the Sheeshabagh colony in Elahibagh often witnesses incessant floods due to the faulty drainage system. “Our area is often under the water. We are in the complete mess, stated the residents of Sheeshabagh, Elahibagh.”
Like other parts of Srinagar, Sheeshabagh colony in Elahibagh, Buchpora is in utter chaos. Throughout the year, a nearby stream called Padshahi canal often floods. Even a mild rainfall clogs the drain which leads to floods. The residents of this area irked for ‘shoddy’ civic work.
Firstly, the department of irrigation and flood control took the responsibility of desilting the stream which has become a drain now. Since 1998, the residents made repeated requests to the said department and on the contrary, department of irrigation & flood control dilly-dallied in order to buy time.
“We have been requesting irrigation and flood control department to look into the matter but they befooled us every time. The reason being that we have no particular affiliation with any political party or have no connections with any of the politicians. This negligence is purely a case of nepotism and favoritism,” said Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Sheeshabagh.
Once upon a time, the stream was clean and clear but the residents at the banks of this stream have encroached it and thanks again to Srinagar Municipality, which neglected and ignored the issue since 1999.
“A brief drizzle turns our area into a pool of water, rather I would say a mini sea. The water seeps into our homes, our lawn and in fact, it is quite infectious. We have been going through one office to another but none comes to our rescue,” said Javeed Iqbal.
The absence of an efficient sewage system in Srinagar especially Sheeshabagh could be a major factor of water-borne disease
Likewise September 2014, Srinagar was again on the edge on 9th August 2018 when heavy rains lash Kashmir division. Due to the faulty rather erroneous drainage system and Srinagar Municipality’s mismanagement, Sheeshbagh witnessed the horrific incident of 2014 once again.
Surely it is partly due to the selfish attitude of some of the residents of the Sheeshabagh area who have encroached the stream and partly due to failed urban planning and flawed drainage system of the SMC.
“Often we have to walk in the muddy and filthy water. Our area gets inundated with slight rainfall and it is very unhealthy. The water smells so bad. It is too difficult to live in this area due to systematic waterlogging,” said another resident.
The water which overflows is harmful to the property and lives of the residents. Moreover, the authorities have added adjacent sewage water into the said canal which has aggravated the situations. The life and property of the residents of the Sheeshabagh are always at a risk. Who is responsible for this chaos? Of course, the onus likes with Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) which has long been maintaining criminal silence over the issue.
“We knocked at every door, from irrigation & flood control, SMC and to local MLA Hazratbal Ms Asiya Naqash but there is no respite to our issue. Further, we did all the documentation but of no use. Our case is a sheer example of nepotism which the authorities are known for,” said Bashir Ahmad.
One of the resident on the conditions of anonymity said that when they approached Ms Naqash, her co-workers asked them to arrange a rally for PDP and if they do so then their demand will be met with sure success.
“We have registered complaints at Hon’ble Governor’s grievance cell and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) regarding it and we are waiting for their action not just acknowledgement of the complaint,” added Bashir Ahmad.
There were horror and anxiety prominent on the faces of residents. Even a light shade of grey cloud worries them because it could rain and then lead to floods. Water is benediction from the creator but this blessing has become malediction for the inhabitants of Sheeshabagh, Elahibagh. The chaotic situations in Srinagar and particularly in Sheeshabagh needs the strong political will and long-term planning to rectify the sewage system else it could be hazardous for the residents of the area. It is high time for Srinagar Municipal Corporation to act before it is too late.