Kashmir begins dredging of Jhelum river after 26 years

Srinagar : After 26 years, the Jammu and Kashmir government Saturday re-started the dredging of the Jhelum river to address the annual flood threat in the Valley.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inaugurated the Rs.21.38 crore dredging scheme in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

"We should be amply prepared and alert to the threats of heavy floods so that we are not caught unaware at the time of emergency," he said at the inauguration of the ambitious dredging scheme.

Abdullah said the government is working on a comprehensive flood protection project to increase the intake capacity of major rivers, strengthen the embankments, revive flood channels and introduce long-term and short-term measures.

The dredging operation in river Jhelum is part of this strategy, he added.

"We feel satisfied by constructing bridges, roads, schools, colleges, water supply installations and similar other development schemes as these facilities are in positive use of public, but when we create flood protection like facilities, we pray to God that we may not be compelled to put these measures in use," Abdullah said laying stress on preparedness and alertness of the administration and the people to face the challenges of nature.

Dredging of Jhelum River continued from 1959 to 1986. The scheme has now been revived by the state government.