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Not COVID, Clogged Drains in J&K’s Thathri a Bigger Threat To Us

While authorities pass the buck, this long-standing issue has become hazardous for the town’s residents.

Published
My Report
3 min read
In Doda’s Thathri tehsil, a poor drainage system has become a bane for residents.
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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a failed drainage system has become a greater threat to the people of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. When drains get clogged, water and waste accumulate inside the drain, causing a flash flood-like situation in the area. This accumulation of stagnant water and sewage produces unpleasant smell that ultimately affects the entire market and homes in various places in Doda. The unpleasant smell causes headaches and nausea among people living near this drain. During rainy season, stagnant water accumulated in the drain comes onto roads, thereby blocking them.

The most recent incident of a situation aforementioned was from 12 May. A local NGO arrived on the scene and broadcasted the situation live on their Facebook page to warn people to not travel, as the roads were closed for two days.

Following these flash floods, many streets were blocked and houses suffered minor damage, which could be disastrous if heavy rainfall continued for long.

While Thathri town has always had a poor drainage system in the main town and market areas, the first drain was built in the middle of the town alongside the National Highway in 2012, but it was never managed fairly. It became the main reason for the blockage of this drain and till now, people of Thathri are suffering.

Sewage and garbage accumulates in drains.
Sewage and garbage accumulates in drains.
(Photo Courtesy: Anzer Ayoob)
Water gushes inside a home in Thathri, Doda.
Water gushes inside a home in Thathri, Doda.
(Photo Courtesy: Anzer Ayoob)

A local resident Raja Shakeel tells me,

“I have seen this blocked drain since the beginning of my teenage. Now I am 24-years-old, but the condition is still the same.”

What’s worse is that authorities keep passing the buck.

“We have requested the Municipal Committee to clean the drain regularly and repair the damaged area but till last year, they said this was under the R&B (PwD) Department and when we approached the R&B Department, they told us that this drain is now under National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).”
Raja Shakeel

This long-standing issue has become hazardous for the town’s residents.

“Thathri town is the busiest market in our district and a good business point, but the drainage system in the town has been blocked for many years and various incidents have been personally observed by me.”
Mansoor Ahmed, Social Activist
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Clogged drains make the situation worse during rains.
Clogged drains make the situation worse during rains.
(Photo Courtesy: Anzer Ayoob)

He recalled last year’s incident when a child slipped into the drain and would have drowned if locals did not step in to save him. Several similar incidents have happened in the past, he added.

“I believe Thathri is one of the most ignored towns by the administration and I request that higher authorities keep an eye on this issue.”
Mansoor Ahmed

The locals think that this drainage system in the area is more dangerous than the coronavirus pandemic, as it causes more acute diseases, which become a bane for residents, and the blockade of the drainage system causes flash floods during monsoon.

Rain in the district last month caused a flood-like situation.
Rain in the district last month caused a flood-like situation.
(Photo Courtesy: Anzer Ayoob)
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What Do Authorities Say?

On 26 May, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Thathri, Athar Amin Zargar, stated that a tender is awaited for the repair and maintenance of the drain.

“We have informed NHIDCL about this issue and they are waiting for tendering soon. Once someone takes the tender, this drain will be repaired and later maintained.”
Athar Amin Zargar

The NHIDCL is currently giving tenders to contractors, this reporter has learnt. How long the process will be, remains an open question.

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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