Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Incompetence Unlimited

Fazili says the National Building Construction Company Limited (NBCCL) drainage project can prove disastrous for Old city

(Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili, 68, was born in Srinagar. He received his early schooling from the Government Middle School, Nowhatta, Srinagar, and from M.P. High School, Baghi Dilawar Khan in Srinagar. Mr. Fazili completed his F.Sc. from the Sri Pratap College in Srinagar, and received his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the Annamalai University with honours grade. He joined the J&K government service upon graduation and steadily rose up the ranks to the position of Chief Engineer at his retirement. He managed a number of important infrastructure projects during his government service, including the Model Town Chrar-i-Sharif, Lower Jhelum Hydro Electric Project, Solid Waste Disposal Scheme Srinagar City, Circular Road Project Srinagar City, etc. He has numerous publications to his credit, including Srinagar the Sun City, Our Ancestors and Saints of Kashmir, etc., which were presented in seminar and symposia. He writes for various journals and is presently working on the Jhelum Valley Civilization.) 

Disastrous Drainage Project for Srinagar

Srinagar: The government’s plan to save the twin capital cities of the state from sewerage disposal has forced experts to raise an alarm as they express apprehensions of mass destruction if the plan was put into effect.

Pertinently, the state government with the purpose of protecting capital cities from ‘sullied’ water approved a huge amount of rupees of 133 crore in the year 2007 for the mega project and handed over the work to National Building Construction Company Limited (NBCCL), however, experts believe that the project might prove detrimental for the historic old city as the city may become prone to frequent flooding.

Interestingly, the government has so far released near about ninety crores for (Greater Srinagar Sewerage Project) which has bewildered experts who believe that the executing agency (NBCCL) is ‘incompetent ’ in performing such tentative works.

“I can only say that if the government really pushes with this project there are possible chances of flooding the old city as the executing agency is unaware about the topographic conditions of the valley. The company has no advance technology to carry out the work on such a sensitive project,” Former Chief Engineer, R &B, Mohammad Ashraf Fazli told Kashmir Images.

He said that the spreading pipes had been done on precarious manner including laying of mud mats under the joints of pipes, maintaining the gradient at invert level with leveling instruments, refilling in layers with proper compaction, testing the cube strength of the laid concrete / steel according to BIS specifications.

“The government rather than handing over the project to NBCL should consider the Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) or Drainage Circle Srinagar for the project as both the departments were well aware about the topography of the region,” Fazli cautioned.

“There are possible chances of ‘cataclysm’ as 3 -4 days continuous rainfall might drown the entire old city. Around 50 thousand house drains in Srinagar city are expected to connect with single drain and the base water will be collected by a 60 MLD Sewerage Treatment Plant installed at Noorbagh area on the city outskirts,” claimed Fazli.

President Contractors Coordination Committee (CCC) Farooq Ahmad Dar said that the NBCL has faced lot of problems in the implementation of the project of which the Soura link road is a glaring example. Dar said that if the project was not handled according to the topographic conditions an inch of difference might be disastrous for old city which will imprecisely floodit in no time.

However, official sources confirmed that 60 percent of work of 60MLD Sewerage Treatment Plant has been completed after the state government under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JLNURM) scheme gave a green signal for the project in 2006.

Experts said that the effect of inappropriate planning would cover most of the city areas under its clutches including Nallahmar, Alamgari Bazaar, Lal Bazar, Soura and Gojwara.

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