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Jhelum embankment collapse in Srinagar sparks fear of disaster

Over the sudden collapse of the Jhelum embankment near Perzo restaurant in the Abi Guzar area of Lal Chowk and stated that they are on the edge of a disaster.

By Jahangir Sofi
New Update
Jhelum embankment collapse in Srinagar sparks fear of disaster

Authorities bar people from sitting near collapsed area, locals say they are on the edge of a disaster

Following the caving-in of the Jhelum embankment near the Perzoo restaurant in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk area and subsequent minor prohibition by authorities to prevent people from venturing into the collapsed zone, students and locals living near the area have called for its immediate restoration.

Beauty of river Jhelum at risk

Saima (name changed), a student from the Srinagar area, told Groundreport.in that she is an avid environmental lover and often visits the area to observe and feel a natural beauty, but said that the sudden collapse of the embankment has really made her worried.

“I was shocked to see the video of the breached embankment of the river Jhelum, I don’t know how this erosion happened, but I am concerned. Concerned authorities should look into it and find out the reasons for the collapse”, she said.

Houseboat residents near collapsed Jhelum embankment area express concern over the extent of the damage. Photo Credit: Jahangir Sofi/Ground Report

Residents living in houseboats near the collapsed area, who wished not to be named said that a good sizable length of more than 100 Ft including its retaining wall collapsed, stating that if the repair is not made immediately, the wall may further collapse.

“It has to be repaired immediately, it is not just this smaller portion of the embankment that has collapsed, the ends of caved-in wall are also hanging now and they can collapse anytime. Authorities should immediately start the restoration so as to avoid further damage”, said a local.

Notably, the site is serene and beautiful, attracting people especially young folks, students, and professionals, who often spend their free time observing and enjoying the mesmerizing beauty of the park with the calm, flowing sound of river Jhelum.

Asif, (name changed) a civil service aspirant said that he is a frequent visitor of the park, but said that the approach of people towards the environment is inhuman, citing that the people throw garbage into the Jhelum and damage the embankments and river water.

“It is we all have to understand nature, we have to do justice to nature. We cannot be cruel as we cannot let the dumping of garbage and litter in river water. All this damaging the water quality and weakening the strength of embankments”, he said.  

Jhelum embankment collapses incident has raised concerns about the safety of other embankments along the river. Photo Credit: Jahangir Sofi/Ground Report

Similar incidents in past

Notably, the breach embankment incident has not happened for the first time in the valley. In 2018 a large chunk of an embankment on river Jhelum in Srinagar caved in at Lasjan in the city outskirts which triggered panic among the city residents. Following the breach incident, environmentalists at that time started questioning ‘unscientific dredging’ and the role of the ‘sand mafia’ along the river.

Pertinently the then government had also ordered a probe into the incident to ascertain the facts which lead to the sudden collapse of the Jhelum embankment.

In the year 2020, around a 20-meter stretch of Jhelum embankment at Shivpora in Srinagar had also caved in and in the year 2021, in north Kashmir’s Shadipora area in Bandipora district panic was triggered among the population living near the Jhelum banks when they witnessed caving in of embankments and expanding cracks.

Meanwhile, Ground Report.in reached out to the Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Kashmir, Naresh Kumar who told that a small portion of the embankment had collapsed and that they will take up the restoration of the damaged portion after some technical formalities.

“A small portion of the embankment had collapsed, and concerned Xen has been asked to call for a short tender for it’s repair”, he said.

Jhelum embankment collapses in Srinagar's Lal Chowk, causing significant damage to the area. Photo Credit: Jahangir Sofi/Ground Report

Concern over embankment collapse

Locals living near the area expressed concern over the sudden collapse of the Jhelum embankment near Perzo restaurant in the Abi Guzar area of Lal Chowk and stated that they are on the edge of a disaster.

“Authorities should take it seriously, why the embankment collapsed, and moreover, there are a lot of people who love to spend time at this place. This collapse could have led to an ugly accident had there been anyone sitting here at that time”, said a local.

Locals from the nearby area said that the breach could lead to further damage to the embankment if not repaired immediately, and demanding its immediate restoration they said, authorities should ascertain its cause and review the entire area so that no such situation emerges in the future.

Soon after the news reports were carried out by many media outlets on their social media handles, netizens also expressed concern over the collapse of the Jhelum embankment near the Abi Guzr area.

Meanwhile, a senior official looking into the matter said that the embankment portion had collapsed on Tuesday morning and that they are ascertaining its cause, but said that they have displayed information in the form of banners near the site, asking people not to sit near the collapsed area.

“We have displayed banners near the collapsed site where the embankment has caved in and there is no such serious concern or threat to nearby population. The process for restoration will be taken up”, he said.

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