CRUMBLING OF LASJAN EMBANKMENT : Experts blame unscientific dredging, lack of engineering practices


A report prepared by experts for State Disaster Management Authority about crumbling of Jhelum embankment at Lasjan here has blamed lack of engineering practices and unscientific dredging for collapse of the bank. 
The report, a copy which lies with Greater Kashmir, states that authorities had not made any technical design for strengthening the old toe masonry wall in 2007.
“It was observed that timber piles had been driven to hold masonary toe wall with a view to provide support against its giving way. It is thus obvious that this site of damage has been handled in most unprofessional way for its stabilization,” reads the report.
The report said that the recent adopted measures have become a causative factor for the present damage. “This is thus total neglect of engineering practices and that too in the meandering reach of Jhelum which is susceptible to erosions due to counter currents of flow,” it states. 
It states that the impounded water was observed in the collapsed earth mass of the damaged embankment with one pooled up water near base and the other pool about five feet below the top level of bund.
‘These pools were seen not draining off due to earth being clay which is impervious. The crumbled earth mass was also not dry but wet. This water could be remnant of the volume that had flown out from water pipe that got dislodged and disjointed post slide or this could be from populated hinterland due to seepage either from some water channel running along or also from soakage pits of households in immediate vicinity or a leaking ground water sump tank in the same area,” it reads.
It said to find out the exact source of seepage it would require to remove the debris of crumbled embankment. “This would help to visually observe the places of oozing of water to relate them to the source where it comes from,” the report states. 
The report also holds ongoing outsourced unscientific dredging of Jhelum responsible for weakening the river embankments.
“In fact this dredging has disturbed the river regime and paved way for embankments to crumble at weaker spots. This has also been confirmed in an interim report on dredging by Water Resources ministry GoI who had advised irrigation and flood control department to stop it as it endangers the embankments and structures located there upon to cave in the Srinagar reach,” it reads.
The report has been prepared by consultant and hydraulic engineering expert Ajaz Rasool on the request of State Disaster Management Authority. “Whatever pockets are dredged creates space for immediate fill up and induces sediment erosion and transport from adjacent weaker spots of Jhelum where it is loose,” he said. 
“Reports have thus shown that the embankments at Shivpora just 2 km downstream of present damage site also developed longitudinal cracks which can further destabilise the existing embankments. This dredging project is not based on any scientific sediment data for Jhelum which is non-existent,” it reads.
The report also mentions other few reasons for crumbling of embankment includes plying of heavy motor vehicles ferrying sand and soil, wanton sand excavation on either side of river near shore line.
Experts in their report have enclosed write up of this reporter “Failure to dredge Jhelum on scientific lines puts Kashmir at risk: Caution experts” published in this paper on 26 July last year.  
To mention, preliminary enquiry by government into crumbling of embankment at Lasjan here blames seepage of water from adjoining marshy land for damage to the bank.

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