Over four lakh people are still strand here as the flood waters continued to recede in river Jhelum and its tributaries, bringing relief to the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley.
“There has been a nearly four feet drop in the water level in the river Jhelum which has brought overall relief in the Valley. But a major challenge continued in the Srinagar city where nearly four lakh people are still marooned,” a senior official told IANS on Thursday.However, the official said the water level in the Dal Lake was rising because the lake’s water discharge gates were closed to ensure that the water from the Jhelum river does not enter the lake.
“These gates will only be open after we are sure that the water from the Jhelum would not enter the lake…,” the official said.More navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been flown into the Valley to help the ongoing rescue operations in the city.
After the breach in the Jhelum embankments during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, many people ran for their lives, leaving their belongings behind.“I had to leave everything behind in my official residence in the Church Lane area,” a top official of the state administration told IANS.State Chief Justice M.M. Kumar, who lives barely 200 metres away from the official residence of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, was rescued along with his family after three days.
While the residence of the Chief Minister is situated on the Gupkar Road, the Chief Justice’s house is in the Sonawar area at a much lower height.All the rescued State government ministers, the Chief Justice, the State Chief Secretary and other top officials have been lodged at the Hari Niwas guest house here.The State administration is now trying to put its act together, but many Kashmiris feel it failed them because it could not anticipate the devastating floods.
The local radio station and the national broadcaster Doordarshan continued to be non-functional for the fifth day on Thursday.Many residents strongly criticised the administration.Desperate to be rescued first, angry marooned residents beat up a NDRF rescuer who had to be shifted to Chandigarh for treatment.
“Unless petrol and diesel supplies are resumed somehow, all government and private transport will stop in the Valley in the next two days,” said a local transport operator here.Authorities are now trying to route diesel and petrol supplies to the Valley through the Leh-Srinagar Highway which was opened for traffic three days back.