The admission by Chief Minster Omar Abdullah , in an interview published in Khaleej Times of 19th October 2014, about the brazen role of MLA Chadoora, Javaid Mustafa Mir in obstructing the breach of Kandizal area as per the standard operating procedure ,raises some pertinent questions. The failure at political & administrative level to take necessary steps to save Srinagar city from ravaging floods and putting the State economy to a loss of Rs. One Trillion plus a cascading effect of nearly thrice as much is an unpardonable crime for which heads should have rolled & guilty behind the bars by now. But the local leadership which acts as managers of colonial property handed over to them by New-Delhi gets as much political immunity from New-Delhi as security forces get under AFSPA. Here in this state, unaccountability is the rule rather than exception.
To guage the inertia at the politico-administrative level preceding the floods, it is worthwhile to have a look at CM’s answer to a question posed by the paper:
“ KT: There is an apprehension that the government dithered on a key decision to breach Kandizal, an important embankment in river Jhelum. Is that true?
CM: The Kandizal breach took place itself. It is a fact that Javed Mustafa Mir, the local MLA of Kandizal (of the PDP) positioned himself on the bund and didn’t allow us to breach it. However nature took its own course and Kandizal breached itself. When people talk of Kandizal as a flood basin, that’s a 25-year old perspective. That was when there was no population in Kandizal. Today more than 200,000 people reside in that area.”
CM’s above answer raises following vital issues of grave public importance.
a) That PDP MLA Javaid Mustafa Mir did’nt allow the administration to breach the Kandizal area
b) The Kandizal breach took place itself
c) That Kandizal area is inhabited by two lac people today compared to 25 years ago.
A detailed analysis of his statement:
The chief Minster wants us to believe that mischief was played only by Javeed Mustafa Mir who belongs to PDP. He conveniently omits to mention the resistance offered by his own friend & MLA Anmira Kadal in respect of opening of flood gates at Padshai bagh & Mohd. Akbar Lone, the higher education Minster, in refusing to allow diversion of water to Wullar lake. The later infamous for using unparliamentary language even inside the legislature, is reported to have used choicest abuses and invectives for officials pleading for prompt diversion as per the standard operating procedure. Not left behind is one Imtiyaz Parray, the son of that infamous renegade, who used unabated violence & muscle-power to facilitate election 1996 to put Farooq Abdullah in chair. The whole administration buckled under the pressure of these so-called state & non-state actors to prevent adherence to SOP.
The next point in CM’s answer is “ Mir did’nt allow us to breach it”. Mr. Chief Minster, should feel shame in saying that an MLA did not allow the whole administration to do a particular act and having accepted that fact he is not worthy of occupying a chair meant to safeguard the state & its people.
Another point in CM’s statement is that Kandizal breach took place itself. By this statement he wants us to believe that undue intervention of MLAs did not make much a difference. Yes it is true that Kandizal breach took place itself but the crucial question is when. It was on 4th of September that Mr. Mustafa Mir along with his few goons brandished a gun at Kandizal site & threatened to kill any body & everybody who dares to breach it. It was on 6th September that water finally overflew Kandizal. The excess water in Jehlum, because of non-breaching, created undue pressure on bunds surrounding city for at-least 37 hours. Now anybody conversant with elementary engineering mathematics would tell CM that had Kandizal been breached in time as per the SOP, excess water of around 50,000 cusecs flowing at an average speed would have crossed even our borders in two days, providing much needed relief to Srinagar City. Even if the left-over excess water would have inundated the city, the flood level would not have exceeded 2 to 3ft which means a great relief as compared to average 15 ft level.
The final question arising from CM’s answer is that Kandizal was a flood basin 25 years ago & now around two lac people live in that basin. Here again the question is who allowed the people to settle in the said flood basin? While there is no denying the fact that every Govt. facilitated illegal occupation of Kashmir’s water bodies & basins, National Conference has to share a major part of the blame as it was in power for half of those twenty five years, the remaining half being accounted for by other parties & governor’s rule.
Kashmir is a graveyard of many reputations. It has demolished many a kings, rulers & dynasties. Those who have fiddled with its sanctity & identity have found themselves razed to ground leaving no trace of even their small particles. Mr. CM it is definitely going to come true in your case also.
(The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant. E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)