School boy washed away in Doda, villagers rescued

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR,  Aug 7: While a school boy was washed away in Nallah and another was rescued in Bhallesa area of Doda this morning, a villager and his cattle were rescued from flooded Poonch river  by SDRF and Police team whereas, rain in many parts of Kashmir and Jammu region created havoc  during past 24 hours.
Batote- Doda- Kishtwar, Kalakote-Rajouri and  Reasi- Mahore -Chassana and Gool  Roads remained closed for several hours due to landslides while chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine from Katra base camp was suspended due to rain and bad weather. The new track of Mata Vaishnodevi  shrine was also closed after shooting stones at several places during last night and early morning  today.
Official sources said that a 9th class student, Raja Awais, son of Ghulam Nabi, resident of Amritpora, tehsil Chilly Pingal (Bhallesa area) in district Doda was washed away in flooded Chenyas Nallah this morning. Due to heavy rain in the area, there was flood in the Nallah. The boy was washed away while crossing as the water level increased. Another boy was, however, rescued by the villagers and he sustained some injuries. The dead body of the deceased boy was later recovered.
Deputy Commissioner Doda, Simrandeep Singh today ordered the postponement of exams  of all the classes in the district due to heavy rain and flooded nallahs. All the schools were also closed in Gandoh-Bhalessa Sub Division by the Administration.
A senior Traffic Police officer said that Batote-Doda -Kishtwar Road was blocked  at three places in Assar, Kodapani and Raggi Nallah areas for about three hours in the morning. A large number of vehicles remained stranded. The road was, however, restored  by the concerned highway authorities at around 9.15 am. The Traffic movement on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, however, remained normal during the day today.
The road from Reasi to Mahore – Chassana and Mahore  to Gool also remained closed for several hours today. However, both the roads were restored by the authorities in the afternoon. Rajouri-Kalakote  Road also remained blocked for about two hours at Kesargalla due to land slides. It was also thrown opened to traffic later.
Reports from Poonch said that a villager and his three cattle were trapped in  flash flood in Plastu river (Poonch river) for several hours. He along with two others had gone to the river side to graze cattle. While two boys  managed to cross the river when the water level was increasing, Mohd Farooq, son of Salam Din was trapped in the middle island area of the river. The people raised alarm  and later District Administration came into action.     The joint team of SDRF and Police then launched rescue operation  and saved the villager and the cattle trapped there.
The traffic on Poonch-Mandi Road also remained disrupted for about two hours due to flash flood in a Nallah at Sukha Katta. Many students and Government employees  remained stranded there for long time. The traffic could be restored only after the water level receded in the Nallah.  Due to rain  some fault occurred in Kalakote -Draba power line  and power supply to many parts of Rajouri and Poonch has been affected since morning.  It was still snapped when the last reports came  this evening.
Meanwhile, a sharp fall of nearly 7 degrees Celsius has been witnessed in  day’s temperature in Jammu due to heavy  rain across the region during past 24 hours. The people got relief from the scorching heat  in the winter capital city.  The city also recorded a rainfall of 38.8 mm during past 24 hours while Batote the highest rainfall of 55.9 mm and Katra recorded 51.5 mm rainfall.
The water loggings in many part of Jammu city hit normal movement of traffic while water entered many shops and houses in Canal Road, Satwari, Nanak Nagar,  Gangyal and Preet Nagar areas. Two walls also collapsed in Bahu Fort and Gandhi Nagar area during past 24 hours due to rain in the city. Flash flood in  nallahas affected movement of traffic in rural areas of Jammu while major rivers like, Chenab  Tawi, Basantar and Ujh were also flooded but were flowing much below danger mark.
Meanwhile, normal life in Kashmir valley especially in Srinagar came to standstill as heavy rains this morning inundated the main roads, lanes and by lanes here, causing inconvenience to the people.
Following the scorching heat in the Valley, the heavy rains started this morning and submerged parts of Srinagar including city centre as choked drainage led to water logging.
The inundation of roads also resulted in the traffic mess in Lal Chowk and other areas including Jawahar Nagar, Magarmal Bagh, Batamaloo and surroundings.
The commuters had to face tremendous hardships to reach their destinations with some among them claiming that they remained stuck for hours in the gridlock to reach their respective destinations.
At some busy and important junctions including Regal Chowk, the pedestrians preferred to hire auto-rickshaw to cross the roads. Most of public transport went off the roads due to water logging which hampered the smooth movement of traffic.
The problem was compounded by defunct drainage system in various areas. The choked drains, according to locals led to water logging in various city localities.
However, the locals in Srinagar especially in Old City here said that their areas resemble flood like situation here as the whole area was submerged due to the incessant rains.
The locals from several areas including Safa Kadal, Noor Bagh, Habba Kadal, Baba Demb, Samandar Bagh, Namchibal and others said that the officials failed to take steps to avoid such kind of situations in their locality, saying that whenever it rains, the area got submerged, thus leaving the residents to lurch at large. At several places in Srinagar the water entered the houses.
People mostly stayed indoors as there was huge traffic jams at many places and several vehicles also broke down due to water logging. The attendance at market places and Government offices was thin.
The poor drainage system in Srinagar and choking of the existing drains led to water logging. In Srinagar city, only 37 percent areas have drainage network.  The Government had taken drainage schemes in Kashmir over the years. Most of them could not be completed due to lack of funds and coordination  between various departments.
The drainage system in the Valley, especially in Srinagar city, was badly hit during the 2014 floods. The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) has not been able to restore it permanently. However, the World Bank had agreed to provide funds for restoration of drainage system of the Srinagar city. The World Bank had agreed to provide funds for 42 dewatering stations of Srinagar city.
Around 500 drainage schemes were started over the years in Srinagar, of which only less than 50 per cent could be completed due to paucity of funds.
The rains, however, brought relief to people after a week of hot weather. Director Meteorological (MeT) department, Sonam Lotus said here that the rainfall was expected in the Valley. He said that the light intermittent rainfall is expected for next few days.
Meanwhile, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in its official statement said that they have put its men and machinery on task to dewater the water logged areas. “All the dewatering stations including mobile pumps have been kept operational,” the statement said, adding that the dewatering exercise was personally being monitored by Commissioner SMC Riyaz Ahmed Wani, which was carried out in inundated areas including Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Jehangir Chowk, Rajbagh and others”, the statement said.