Jammu: Asserting that the unprecedented floods in Srinagar city could have been prevented, BJP today demanded an inquiry by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge to ascertain the causes of the "man-made" disaster and fix responsibilities.
"In order to find the causes of this man-made disaster and fix the responsibility, an impartial Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court should be held," BJP state spokesperson Farooq Khan told reporters here.
"Because of vested interests, three state government departments-- Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) supervised by the Chief Minister, PWD and Irrigation & Flood Control Department--, for the reasons best known to them, decided to partially block the flood channel in Srinagar city at Mehjoor Nagar by constructing a road across it as part of a diversion, thereby causing a backflow of flood waters flowing through the channel," alleged Khan.
Khan, who has served as the Srinagar district police chief and IGP in Kashmir, claimed that according to experts, this road-cum-dam caused more than 20 per cent blockade of flood water, creating a backflow which ultimately flooded the bund near Kursoo, resulting in the flooding of maximum localities of Srinagar City, with Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar being the worst hit.
This, coupled with delayed opening of gates of the Dal compounded the flood situation, he alleged.
"The flood waters, first noticed to have crossed the danger mark at Sangam, took seven hours to reach the Srinagar city, giving enough time to the government machinery to prepare and respond to the danger," he claimed.
The state government and its machinery miserably failed to react to the situation, leading to a calamity which has no parallel in the history of the state, he alleged.
"While it is a criminal offence to cause any obstruction in the flood channel, how the ERA was allowed by the Flood Control Department to construct the road-cum-dam in connivance with the PWD," Khan alleged.
"What was the role of ministers and engineers as well as the CM in taking this decision while they could have either constructed a valley bridge or boat bridge at the same spot," Khan questioned.
Khan alleged that the state government had been incompetent in handling the situation.
"It has been brought to notice by many complainants from all over the state that the state government machinery has been mostly absent from the scene. And wherever relief materials are being distributed, it is being done considering the political affiliations of the sufferers," he alleged. PTI AB