Tag Archives: Chronological development of Srinagar City

History of development of Srinagar City from the earliest records to present date.

Engineering Preparedness for Disaster Mitigation


(ENGINEERS DAY- 15th September


the studies of the decade of Environmental Disasters of 1990’s, the tally of
catechism including the northern Iran, Latur, Tehri, Gujarat and Muzaffarabad
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions in Philippines, Alaska, flooding along Trinity,
Red Arkansas, Texas and Perennial floods in Bangladesh followed by recent
earthquakes, Gulf wars, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Pentagon and World Trade
Centre demolishing disasters, Mumbai terror attack, Palestine and Kashmir
Conflict insurgency, last year’s cloud burst in Leh district of J&K State, recent
damage to nuclear power stations in Japan, current famine in Somalia and
studying the glimpses of the widespread environmental degradation at Global
level, hurricanes, famines, wind storms and other extreme events are becoming
more frequent. Some important records of past historical Tsunamis are:

November 1755-Earthquake cause Tsunami destroyed Lisbon killing over 60,000

August 1883-Volcanic eruption created Tsunami from the Karakota Volcano drowning
36000 people.

June 1986- Tsunami in japan killed over 27000 people.

26th 2004-Tsunami has beaten all previous records being deadliest
one till date killing more than one lakh and rendering several lakhs homeless.
The strange observation made on the most-hit island of Indonesia was, that
animals had migrated from the affected area and the aquatic life was not much
damaged in Indian Ocean. Same thing happened during the Tehri- Gharwal earthquake,
where most of the wild animals had migrated from the affected areas. This is
Nature’s check and balance system. Similarly the past world records show that
the death toll of the top ten Natural Disasters from 1945 to 2000 has ranged
from 30,000 to 07 lakhs in different countries-the last being the 1967
earthquake in China. Again the ten Industrial and Chemical accidents show
steady increase from 1947-Texas City explosion of Ammonium Nitrate to Bhopal
accident in 1984 and Radio activity explosion in Chernobyl Russia in 1986 and
Natural gas explosion in Acha Russia in 1989 ranging death toll from 317 to
3849. The  number of major catastrophic
events over the decade from 1990-2000 has increased three fold in comparison
with the 1960’s.The rate of economic losses has also increased almost 9 times
over the same period. 50% of the total population of the least developed
countries is at great risk. Ironically more than 50 % of all natural disasters
during the decade occurred in developing countries, in which more than 75% of
all killed, hailed from these places and only 2% were shared by the highly
developed countries.

per IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross)-2001 report, on an average for
every 22.5 person’s death in highly developed countries due to natural
disasters, there is a figure of 145 deaths in developed countries. Notably
Global warming, climate change to a great extent is influencing occurrence of
storms, hurricanes, floods, draughts, land sliding and also intensity to great
damage El-Nino, ozone depletion, extinction of biodiversity, rise of sea level,
greenhouse effect etc. Only the El-Nino toll reached to 24,000 during 1997-98
due to high winds, floods, storms and surges, more than 10 million people were
affected and 6 million displaced. However there is constant identification of
hazards and response to hazard events. We have to learn lessons from the past
to be ever ready to face the unwarranted consequences of the disasters and rise
to the occasion both at the individual, state, national and International
level.  Certain provision in the
organizations like UNDHA,UNDP,UNDRO,UNEP,UNESCO,UNOCHA,USCR and many other
International agencies are actively working for disaster management and relief

have been broadly categorized as: Natural, Man-made and Epidemic quarantine.The
classification made by scientists is: (a)Climate-related, (b)Climate and water-related,(c)Earth-related,(d)Ocean-related,(e)Space-related,(f)Temperature-related.

Natural Disasters covered in climate and wind related are as wind storms, hail
storms, snow storms, cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, typhoons,
willy willies, blizzards, fogs etc.

climate and water related disasters cover : floods, erosion, dam-bursting,
levee failure, cloud bursts, flash floods, heavy excessive rains, glaze stones,
droughts, snow falls, cold waves, hail, frost etc.

earth related also called geological include: earthquakes, tsunamis,
avalanches, landslides, volcanic eruptions, rock falls, mud slides, subsidence,
shifting sand etc.

ocean related includes ocean currents.

space related includes asteroid collisions, lightening etc.

temperature related cover heat waves, white outs, forest fires.

man-made disasters include wars, battles, hostile enemy actions, arson,
sabotage, internal disturbance, riots, crowd violence, accident of vehicles,
trains, aircrafts, ships, traffic accidents, transport accidents, industrial
accidents, nuclear leaks or explosions, air pollutions, ecological famines, excess
grain hoarding, food crises, epidemics, land degradation, toxic hazards, ozone
depletion, contamination, HIV AIDS, population explosion, poverty, drugs, terrorism

epidemics inverting through inadequate quarantine, vector borne diseases,
plague, water borne diseases, food poisoning, person to person diseases, wound
complications etc.

various aspects of disasters are:
Geographical,Sociological,Developmental,Epidomological, Human or Cultural,
Ecological and Technical.

technical aspect focuses on scientific and technical requirement of the disasters.
The major thrust areas are seismology, volcanology, and geomorphology and geo-physical

the Muzaffarabad earthquake in October 2005, the US geologists RB Bilan and
K.Wallace confirmed in a conference in India that the Kangra region like other
parts of the Himalayas are vulnerable to a future large earthquake of magnitude
8, despite having experience of 100 years ago. Scientists warned that since the
population of Indo-Gangetic basin in India and Pakistan is larger than at any
time in the history any future massive earthquake in Himalayas could have much
greater impact on population than the Tsunami of 2004.International
seismologists have warned that the western Himalayas may be on a stress state
similar to that of Andaman plate boundary prior to 2004. The view is however
refuted according to their research and evidences by H. Gupta and Negi -former


The Yokohama message
emanating from the international decade for natural disaster reduction in May
1994 underlined the need for an emphatic shift in the strategy for disaster
mitigation. It was inter-alia stressed that disaster prevention, mitigation,
preparedness and relief are four elements which contribute to and gain, from
the implementation of the sustainable development policies. These elements
along with environmental protection and sustainable development, are closely
inter related. Therefore, nations should incorporate them in their development
plans and ensure efficient follow up measures at the community, sub-regional,
regional, national and international levels. The Yokohama Strategy also
emphasized that disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness are better
than disaster response in achieving the goals and objectives of vulnerability
reduction. Disaster response alone is not sufficient as it yields only
temporary results at a very high cost. Prevention and mitigation contribute to
lasting improvement in safety and are essential to integrated disaster

The Government of India has
adopted mitigation and prevention as essential components of their development
strategy. The Tenth Five Year Plan document has a detailed chapter on Disaster
Management. The plan emphasizes the fact that development cannot be sustainable
without mitigation being built into developmental process. Each State is
supposed to prepare a plan scheme for disaster mitigation in accordance with
the approach outlined in the plan. In brief, mitigation is being
institutionalized into developmental planning.

The Finance Commission makes recommendations with regard to
devolution of funds between the Central Government and State Governments as
also outlays for relief and rehabilitation. The earlier Finance Commissions
were mandated to look at relief and rehabilitation. The Terms of Reference of
the Twelfth Finance Commission have been changed and the Finance Commission has
been mandated to look at the requirements for mitigation and prevention apart
from its existing mandate of looking at relief and rehabilitation. A Memorandum
has been submitted to the Twelfth Finance Commission after consultation with
States. The Memorandum proposes a Mitigation Fund.

The Government of India has
issued guidelines that where there is a shelf of projects, projects addressing
mitigation will be given a priority. It has also been mandated that each
project in a hazard prone area will have disaster prevention/mitigation as a
term of reference and the project document has to reflect as to how the project
addresses that term of reference.

Measures for flood mitigation were taken from 1950 onwards.
As against the total of 40 million hectares prone to floods, area of about 15
million hectares has been protected by construction of embankments. A number of
dams and barrages have been constructed. The State Governments have been
assisted to take up mitigation programs like construction of raised platforms
etc. Floods continue to be a menace however mainly because of the huge quantum
of silt being carried by the rivers emanating from the Himalayas. This silt has raised the bed level
in many rivers to above the level of the countryside. Embankments have also
given rise to problems of drainage with heavy rainfall leading to water logging
in areas outside the embankment. To evolve both short-term and long-term
strategy for flood management/erosion control, Government of India has recently
constituted a Central Task Force under the Chairmanship of Chairman, Central
Water Commission. The Task Force will examine causes of the problem of
recurring floods and erosion in States and region prone to flood and erosion;
and suggest short-term and long-term measures. The Task Force was to submit its
report by December 2004.

Due to erratic behavior of monsoons, both low and medium
rain fall regions, which constitute about 68% of the total area, are vulnerable
to periodical droughts. Our experience has been that almost every third year is
a drought year. However, in some of the States, there may be successive drought
years enhancing the vulnerability of the population in these areas. Local
communities have devised indigenous safety mechanisms and drought oriented
farming methods in many parts of the country. From the experience of managing
the past droughts particularly the severe drought of 1987, a number of programs
have been launched by the Government to mitigate the impact of drought in the
long run. These programmes include Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Desert
Development Programme (DDP), National Watershed Development Project for Rain
fed Areas (NWDPRA), Watershed Development Programme for Shifting Cultivation
(WDPSC), Integrated Water Development Project (IWDP), Integrated Afforestation
and Eco-development Project Scheme (IAEPS).

Flood preparedness and response

order to respond effectively to floods, Ministry of Home Affairs have initiated
National Disaster Risk Management Programme in all the flood-prone States.
Assistance is being provided to the States to draw up disaster management plans
at the State, District, Block/Taluka and Village levels. Awareness generation
campaigns to sensitize all the stakeholders on the need for flood preparedness
and mitigation measures. Elected representatives and officials are being
trained in flood disaster management under the programme. Bihar Orissa, West
Bengal, Assam and Uttar Pradesh are among the 17 multi-hazard prone States
where this programme is being implemented with UNDP. USAID and European

Earthquake Risk Mitigation

comprehensive programme has been taken up for earthquake risk mitigation.
Although, the BIS has laid down the standards for construction in the seismic
zones, these were not being followed. The building construction in urban and
suburban areas is regulated by the Town and Country Planning Acts and Building
Regulations. In many cases, the Building regulations do not incorporate the BIS
codes. Even where they do, the lack of knowledge regarding seismically safe
construction among the architects and engineers as well as lack of awareness
regarding their vulnerability among the population led to most of the
construction in the urban/sub-urban areas being without reference to BIS
standards. In the rural areas, the bulk of the housing is non-engineered
construction. The mode of construction in the rural areas has also changed from
mud and thatch to brick and concrete construction thereby increasing the
vulnerability. The increasing population has led to settlements in vulnerable
areas close to the river bed areas which are prone to liquefaction. The
Government have moved to address these issues.

Core Group for Earthquake Risk Mitigation

A National Core Group for Earthquake Risk
has been constituted consisting of
experts in earthquake engineering and administrators. The Core Group has been
assigned with the responsibility of drawing up a strategy and plan of action
for mitigating the impact of earthquakes; providing advice and guidance to the
States on various aspects of earthquake mitigation; developing/organizing the
preparation of handbooks/pamphlets/type designs for earthquake resistant
construction; working out systems for assisting the States in the seismically
vulnerable zones to adopt/integrate appropriate Bureau of Indian Standards
codes in their building byelaws; evolving systems for training of municipal
engineers as also practicing architects and engineers in the private sector in
the salient features of Bureau of Indian Standards codes and the amended
byelaws; evolving a system of certification of architects/engineers for testing
their knowledge of earthquake resistant construction; evolving systems for
training of masons and carry out intensive awareness generation campaigns.

Review of
building bye-laws and their adoption

casualties during earthquakes are caused by the collapse of structures.
Therefore structural mitigation measures are the key to make a significant
impact towards earthquake safety in our country. In view of this the States in
earthquake prone zones have been requested to review, and if necessary, amend
their building bye-laws to incorporate the BIS seismic codes for construction
in the concerned zones. Many States have initiated necessary action in this
regard. An Expert Committee appointed by the Core Group on Earthquake Risk
Mitigation has already submitted its report covering appropriate amendments to the existing Town & Country
Planning Acts, Land Use Zoning Regulation
Development Control Regulations & Building Bylaws, which could be used by
the State Governments & the local bodies there-under to upgrade the
existing legal instruments. The Model Building Bylaws also cover the aspect of
ensuring technical implementation of the safety aspects in all new
constructions & upgrading the strength of existing structurally vulnerable
constructions. To facilitate the review of existing building byelaws and
adoption of the proposed amendments by the State Governments & UT
administrations, discussion workshops at regional level in the country are
being organized. It is expected that all planning authorities and local bodies
will soon have development control regulations and building byelaws which would
include multi-hazard safety provisions.

Development and Revision of Codes

There are Bureau of Indian Standard
(BIS) codes which are relevant for multi-hazard resistant design and
construction. These codes have to be regularly updated. An action plan has been
drawn up for revision of existing codes, development of new codes and documents/commentaries,
and making these codes and documents available all over the country including
on-line access to these codes. An Apex committee consisting of representatives of Ministry of
Consumer Affairs, BIS and MHA
has been constituted
to review the mechanism and process of development of codes relevant to
earthquake risk mitigation and establish a protocol for revision by BIS.

Safety Cells in States

The States have been advised to
constitute Hazard Safety Cells (HSC) headed
by the Chief Engineer (Designs), State Public Works Department with necessary
engineering staff so as to establish mechanism for proper implementation of the
building codes in all future Govt. constructions, and to ensure the safety of
buildings and structures from various hazards. The HSC will also be responsible
for carrying out appropriate design review of all Government buildings to be
constructed in the State, act as an advisory cell to the State Government on
the different aspects of building safety against hazards and act as a
consultant to the State Government for retrofitting of the lifeline buildings. Rajasthan,
West Bengal and Chhatisgarh
have already constituted these cells and other States are in the process.

Programme for Capacity Building of Engineers and Architects in Earthquake Risk

National Programmes for Capacity Building in Earthquake Risk Mitigation for Engineers and Architects respectively, have been approved to assist the
State Govts in building capacities for earthquake mitigation. These two
programmes are being implemented for training of 10,000 engineers and 10,000
architects in the States in seismically safe building designs and related
techno-legal requirements. Assistance is being provided to the State/UTs to
build the capacities of more than 125 State Engineering Colleges and 110 Architecture
Colleges to be able
to provide advisory services to the State Govts to put in place appropriate
techno-legal regime, assessment of building and infrastructures and their
retrofitting. These institutions will function as State Resource Institutions.
Twenty-one National level Engineering and Architecture Institutions have been
designated as National Resource Institutes to train the faculty members of
selected State Engineering and Architecture colleges. 450 engineering faculty
members and 250 architecture faculty members of these State Resource
Institutions will be trained during the current year.

of rural masons

A programme to assist the States/UTs
in training and certification of 50000 masons has been formulated in consultation
with Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and the Ministry of
Rural Development. The training module for masons to include multi-hazard
resistant construction has also been prepared by an expert committee, and
revised curriculum will be introduced in the vocational training programme of
Ministry of Human Resource Development.

in Undergraduate
Engineering/Architecture Curricula

The role
of engineers and architects is crucial in reducing earthquake risks by ensuring
that the construction adheres to the norms of seismically safety. In view of
this, the elements of earthquake engineering are being integrated into the
undergraduate engineering and architecture courses. The model course curricula for adoption by various technical institutions and
universities have been developed and circulated to the Universities and
Technical Institutions for adoption in the under graduate curricula. Ministry
of Home Affairs is working with All India Council of Technical Education
(AICTE) and Council of Architecture (COA) for introduction of revised curricula
for engineering and architecture course from 2005-2006.

and Emergency Health Management in
Medical Education

Hospital preparedness is crucial to
any disaster response system. Each hospital should have an emergency
preparedness plan to deal with mass casualty incidents and the hospital
administration/ doctor trained for this emergency. The curriculum for medical
doctors does not include Hospital Preparedness for emergencies. Therefore
capacity building through in-service training of the current heath managers and
medical personnel in Hospital Preparedness for emergencies or mass causality
incident management is essential. At the same time, the future health managers
must acquire these skills systematically through the inclusion of health
emergency management in the undergraduate and post graduate medical curricula.
In consultation with Medical Council of India(MCI), two committees have been
constituted for preparation of curriculum for introduction of emergency health
management in MBBS curriculum, and preparation of in-service training of
Hospital Managers and Professionals
. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health
Sciences Karnataka have been identified as the lead national resource
institution for the purpose.

of Lifeline

these mitigation measures will take care of the new constructions, the problem
of unsafe existing buildings stock would still remain. It will not be possible
to address the entire existing building stock, therefore the life line
buildings like hospitals, schools or buildings where people congregate like
cinema halls, multi-storied apartments are being focused on. The States have
been advised to have these buildings assessed and where necessary retrofitted.
The Ministries of Civil Aviation, Railways, Telecommunication, Power and Health
and Family Welfare have been advised to take up necessary action for detailed
evaluation and retrofitting of lifeline buildings located in seismically
vulnerable zones so as to ensure that they comply with BIS norms, Action plan
have been drawn up by these Ministries for detailed vulnerability analysis and
retrofitting/ strengthening of buildings and structures. The Ministry of
Finance have been requested to advise the financial institutions to give loans
for retrofitting on easy terms. Accordingly the Ministry of Finance had advised
Reserve Bank of India to issue suitable instructions to all the Banks and Financial Institutions
to see that BIS codes/bye laws are scrupulously followed while
financing/refinancing construction activities in seismically vulnerable zones.

Earthquake Risk
Mitigation Project

An Earthquake Mitigation Project has
been drawn up, with an estimated cost of Rs.1132 crore. The project has been
given in-principle clearance by the Planning Commission. The programme includes
detailed evaluation and retrofitting of lifeline buildings such as hospitals,
schools, water and power supply units, telecommunication buildings,
airports/airport control towers, railway stations, bus stands and important
administrative buildings in the States in seismic zones IV and V. The programme
also includes training of masons in earthquake resistant constructions. Besides,
assistance will be provided under this project to the State Governments to put
in place appropriate techno legal regime. Startup activities for implementation
of this project have already been initiated.

Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction

An accelerated urban earthquake vulnerability reduction programme has
been taken up in 38 cities in seismic zones III, IV & V
with population of half a million and above. 474 Orientation programmes have
been organized for senior officers and representatives of the local planning
and development bodies to sensitize them on earthquake preparedness and
mitigation measures. The training programme for engineers and architects are
being organized to impart knowledge about seismically safe construction and
implementation of BIS norms. So far 1088 engineers and 825 architects have been
trained. For enhanced school safety, education programmes have been organized
in schools, colleges and other educational institutions. This programme will be
further extended to 166 earthquake prone districts in seismic zones IV & V.
Awareness generation programmes, community and neighbourhood organizations have
been started in these cities. These cities are also being assisted to review
and amend their building bye-laws to incorporate multi hazard safety
provisions. City Disaster Management Plans are being developed under the
project. Nine Cities have prepared city Disaster Management Plans.

in Rural Development Schemes

housing and community assets for vulnerable sections of the population are
created at a fairly large scale by the Ministry of Rural Development under the
Indira Awas Yojna(IAY) and Sampooran Grameen Rojgar Yojna(SGRY). About 250
thousand small but compact housing units are constructed every year, besides
community assets such as community centres, recreation centres, anganwadi
centres etc. Technology support is provided by about two hundred rural housing
centres spread over the entire country. The Ministry of Home Affairs is working
with the Ministry of Rural Development for changing the guidelines so that the
houses constructed under IAY or school buildings/community buildings
constructed under SGRY are earthquake/cyclone/flood resistant; as also that the
schemes addressing mitigation are given priority under SGRY. Ministry of Rural
Development are carrying out an exercise for this purpose. This initiative is expected to go a long way in
popularization of seismically safe construction at village/block level .

National Cyclone Mitigation Project

A project for Cyclone
(estimated cost Rs. 1050 crore)
has been drawn up in consultation with the cyclone prone States. This project
envisages construction of cyclone shelters, coastal shelter belt plantation in
areas which are prone to storm surges, strengthening of warning systems,
training and education etc. This project has also been given in-principle
clearance by the Planning Commission and is being taken up with World Bank

Hazard Mitigation

A National Core Group has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Border
Management and comprising of Secretary, Department of Science and Technology,
Secretary, Road Transport & Highways, and the Heads of Geological Survey of
India and National Remote Sensing Agency for drawing up a strategy and plan of
action for mitigating the impact of landslides, provide advise and guidance to
the State Governments on various aspects of landslide mitigation, monitor the
activities relating to landslide mitigation including landslide hazard zonation
and to evolve early warning systems and protocols for landslides/landslide risk
reduction. The Government have designated Geological Survey of India (GSI) as
the nodal agency responsible for coordinating/ undertaking geological studies,
landslides hazard zonation, monitoring landslides/avalanches, studying the
factors responsible and suggesting precautionary and preventive measure. The
States/UTs have been requested to share the list of habitation close to
landslide prone areas in order to supplement GSI’s on going assessment of such
areas based on the Survey of India’s Toposheet and their existing data base on
landslide for the purpose of landslide hazard zonation being carried out by
them. A national strategy for mitigating landslide hazard in the country is
being drawn up in consultation with all the agencies concerned.

Disaster Risk Management Programme

A Disaster Risk Management Programme has been taken up in 169 districts in 17
multi-hazard prone States with the assistance from UNDP, USAID and European
Union. Under this project, the States are being assisted to draw up State,
district and Block level disaster management plans; village disaster management
plans are being developed in conjunction with the Panchayati Raj Institutions
and disaster management teams consisting of village volunteers are being
trained in various preparedness and response functions such as search and
rescue, first aid, relief coordination, shelter management etc. Equipment needs
for district and State Emergency Operation Centres have been identified by the
State nodal agencies and equipment is being provided to equip these EOCs.
Orientation training of masons, engineers and architects in disaster resistant
technologies have been initiated in these districts and construction of model
demonstration buildings will be started soon.

Under this programme Disaster
Management Plans have been prepared for 8643 villages, 1046 Gram Panchayat, 188
blocks and 82 districts. More than 29000 elected representatives of Panchayati
Raj Institutions have already been trained, besides imparting training to
members of voluntary organizations. About 18000 Government functionaries have
been trained in disaster mitigation and preparedness at different levels. 865
engineers and 425 architects have been trained under this programme in
vulnerability assessment and retrofitting of lifeline buildings. 600 master
trainers and 1200 teachers have already been trained in different districts in
disaster preparedness and mitigation. Disaster Management Committees consisting
of elected representatives, civil society members, Civil Defence volunteers and
Government functionaries have been constituted at all levels including
village/urban local body/ward levels. Disaster Management Teams have been
constituted in villages and are being imparted training in basic functions of
first aid, rescue, evacuation and related issues. The thrust of the programme
is to build up capabilities of the community since the community is invariably
the first responder. During the recent past, it has been experienced that the
capacity building of the community has been very helpful even in normal
situations when isolated instances of drowning, burns etc. take place. With the
creation of awareness generation on disaster mitigation, the community will be
able to function as a well-knit unit in case of any emergency. Mock drills are
carried out from time to time under the close supervision of Disaster
Management Committees. The Disaster Management Committees and Disaster
Management Teams have been established by notifications issued by the State
Governments which will ensure that the entire system is institutionalized and
does not disintegrate after the conclusion of the programme. The key points
being stressed under this programme are the need to ensure sustainability of
the programme, development of training modules; manuals and codes, focused
attention to awareness generation campaigns; institutionalization of disaster
management committees and disaster management teams, disaster management plans
and mock-drills and establishment of techno-legal regimes.


Recognizing that awareness about vulnerabilities is a sine qua
non for inducing a mindset of disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness,
the Government has initiated a nation-wide awareness generation campaign as
part of its overall disaster risk management strategy. In order to devise an
effective and holistic campaign, a steering committee for mass media campaign
has been constituted at the national level with due representation of experts
from diverse streams of communication. The Committee has formulated a campaign
strategy aimed at changing peoples’ perception of natural hazards and has
consulted the agencies and experts associated with advertising and media to
instill a culture of safety against natural hazards.

Apart from the use of print and electronic media, it is
proposed to utilize places with high public visibility viz. hospitals, schools,
railway stations and bus terminals, airports and post offices, commercial
complexes and municipality offices etc. to make people aware of their
vulnerabilities and promote creation of a safe living environment.

A novel method being tried is the use of government
stationery viz. postal letters, bank stationery, railway tickets, airline
boarding cards and tickets etc. for disseminating the message of disaster risk
reduction. Slogans and messages for this purpose have already been developed
and have been communicated to concerned Ministries/agencies for printing and
dissemination. The mass media campaign will help build the knowledge, attitude
and skills of the people in vulnerability reduction and sustainable disaster
risk management measures.

in School Curriculum

management as a subject in Social Sciences has been introduced in the school
curriculum for
Class VIII & IX. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which has introduced the curriculum runs a very
large number of schools throughout the country and the course curriculum is
invariably followed by the State Boards of Secondary Education. Teachers are
being trained to teach disaster management Syllabus for Class X is being
finalized and will be introduced in the course curriculum soon. The State
Governments have been advised to take similar steps vis-à-vis their school
boards. Several Provincial Governments have already introduced the same
curriculum in Class VII. Ministry is working with the Council of Board of
School Education (COBSE) to facilitate inclusion of disaster management in
public education in all 39 School Boards in the country.

Education and Communication

In order to assist the State
Governments in capacity building and awareness generation activities and to
learn from past experiences including sharing of best practices, the Ministry
of Home Affairs has compiled/prepared a set of resource materials developed by
various organisations/institutions to be replicated and disseminated by State
Governments based on their vulnerabilities after translating it into the local languages.
The voluminous material which runs in about 10000 pages has been divided into 4
broad sections in 7 volumes. These sections cover planning to cope with
disasters; education and training; construction toolkit; and information,
education and communication toolkit including multi-media resources on disaster
mitigation and preparedness. The Planning section contains material for
analyzing a community’s risk, development of Preparedness. Mitigation and
disaster management plans, coordinating available resources and implementing
measures for risk reduction. The model bye-laws, DM Policy, Act and model
health sector plan have also been included. Education and Training includes
material for capacity building and upgradation of skills of policy makers, administrators,
trainers, engineers etc. in planning for and mitigating against natural
disasters. Basic and detailed training modules in disaster preparedness have
been incorporated along with training methodologies for trainers, for community
preparedness and manuals for training at district, block, panchayat and village
levels. For creating a disaster-resistant building environment, the
Construction Toolkit addresses the issue of seismic resistant construction and
retrofitting of existing buildings. BIS Codes, manuals and guidelines for RCC,
Masonry and other construction methodologies as also for repair and
retrofitting of masonry and low-rise buildings have been included.

IEC material seeks to generate
awareness to induce mitigation and preparedness measures for risk reduction.
Material and strategies used by various States and international organizations,
including tips on different hazards, have been incorporated along with
multi-media CDs on disasters. The material has been disseminated to all the
State Governments/UT Administrations with the request to have the relevant
material, based on the vulnerability of each district, culled out, translated
into local languages and disseminate it widely down to the village level.

to Northeastern States

A special focus is being given to
North-Eastern States and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The North-Eastern Council has been
made the nodal agency for the NE States. The NEC has been provided with a
resource person/advisor in disaster management. A detailed presentation on the
vulnerabilities of the NE region and the need for comprehensive disaster
management plan has been made in the Governing Body of NE Council. An action
plan has been drawn up by NEC and a declaration namely “Shillong Declaration”
has been adopted by States in the NE region for integrating disaster management
with development planning. 140 officials and non-officials have been trained in
disaster management to act as resource persons for the NE region. State and
district level sensitization and training programmes are being carried out.

The various prevention and
mitigation measures outlined above are aimed at building up the capabilities of
the communities, voluntary organisations and Government functionaries at all
levels. Particular stress is being laid on ensuring that these measures are
institutionalized considering the vast population and the geographical area of
the country. This is a major task being undertaken by the Government to put in
place mitigation measures for vulnerability reduction. This is just a
beginning. The ultimate goal is to make prevention and mitigation a part of
normal day-to-day life. The above mentioned initiatives will be put in place
and information disseminated over a period of five to eight years. We have a
firm conviction that with these measures in place, we could say with confidence
that disasters like Orissa cyclone and Bhuj earthquake will not be allowed to
recur in this country; at least not at the cost, which the country has paid in
these two disasters in terms of human lives, livestock, loss of property and
means of livelihood.

Presented by:

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE
(Retd. Chief Engineer.)



Geological evidence and ancient legend agree that the valley of Kashmir was once perhaps a hundred million years ago, one vast lake hundreds of feet deep. In prehistoric times, the basin of Kashmir contained a lake much larger than that of today. The sand stone rock at the western corner of the basin seems to have been rent by some cataclysm followed by attrition; and the lake was drained by the deepening of the Baramulla gorge, which was the slow process of erosion by water, and which must have taken hundreds of years to accomplish. The country could be inhabited only in summer by nomads due to prolonged extreme cold climate and they migrated southward in winter. In time, however, the climate became temperate, and Kashmir came to be the abode of a permanent and prosperous agricultural community. ( The earlier observation of a great prehistoric lake has been contested and abandoned by Mr. R.D.Oldham in 1903 after studying the Karewas which according to him are of fluviatile and not of lacustrine origin and that there was never at any time materially a larger lake than at the present day.)
The old name Satisaras was replaced by Ka-samira that may be taken to mean (land) from which water (Ka) has been drained off by wind (Samira). According to another interpretation, Kashmir is a Prakrit compound with its components: kas, meaning a channel and mir, meaning a mountain. Kas-mir could thus mean a rock trough. In its configuration, Kashmir is a deep trough (84 X 20 to 25 miles) with rocky walls.
The other theory — that Kashmir, or Kashir as named by its inhabitants, was so called on account of the settlement of a race of men called Kash, who were a Semitic tribe and founded what are now called the cities of Kash, Kashan, and Kashghar— has yet to be properly investigated. The fact is that the name Kashmir is ancient and has been used throughout its known history of an unbroken chain of documents for more than 23 centuries, while the name is undoubtedly far more ancient.The inhabitants pronounce it as Kashir, which is the direct derivative of Kashmir with the loss of ‘m’. In Kashir or Koshur—the inhabitants of Kashir and the language of Kashir, ‘u’ replaces ‘I’
The recent finds at Pandrethan, Takht-i-Sulaiman, Vendrahom, Rangyil, Naran Nag, Arhom and Burzahom in Kashmir establish the existence of Stone Age.
The wide prevalence of Naga-worship before and even after the Buddhist period indicates that the first settlers in the Kashmir Valley must have been the people, known as aborigines, who had spread over the whole of India before the advent of Aryans. Nothing is known as to the stage of civilization these early inhabitants had attained when they entered Kashmir.
Next have come the Aryans, the Jews, and the Sayids from Iran, Bukhara and other parts of Central Asia besides the Arabs. Thus the present population of Kashmir is an admixture of aborigines with slight Jewish, large Aryan and some other foreign elements.
The fertile river valleys of the Nile in Egypt, Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq, Indus in Pakistan, Ganges and Yamuna in India and yellow river in China, besides other rivers including River Jhelum in Kashmir were able to support very large populations and it was here that great urban civilizations of the ancient world emerged and thrived. Although cities developed independently in several regions they shared certain characteristics.
The Japanese are reported to have expressed high regards for Kashmir as it is the first land-mass to emerge after the floods of Prophet Noah ( called as Manu ) receded. In fact Kashmir has one of the earliest civilizations which thrived after Noah’s flood and river Jhelum has survived till date as a relic of the past history with age old monuments situated on its banks clustered with buildings of Srinagar Township.
The parent stream of the river Jhelum has its source in a noble spring (Verinag) of deep blue water at the bottom of a spur in the Pir Panjal, just below the Jawahar Tunnel connecting the main highway, wherefrom the beautiful octagonal spring is seen like an emerald set in green pines. An important source of river Jhelum is the lake Sheshnag at the head of Liddar tributary. The river Jhelum is a tributary river par excellence. It is joined by Veshav, Rambiara, Romshi, Sukhnag, Dudganga, Tel-bal Nalla flowing into the Dal Lake and thence via Tsunti Khul and also through Brari Numbal besides the Sind through Anchar Lake (now turned swamp). The Dal Lake forms the flood lung of the Jhelum, taking in reverse flows from Jhelum when it floods. The flood spill channel was constructed in the year 1904 to relieve the river of the strain while it passes through the city of Srinagar. The spill channel takes one third of the total flow of the river. The Jhelum flows in loops over river plains apparently quite leveled and gentle slopes. Anantnag is 94 meters higher than Srinagar and Sopore is 34 meters lower than Srinagar. The Jhelum drains off the whole valley of Kashmir catering the whole catchment area and is the most westerly of the five rivers of Punjab.
The Wular is the largest fresh water lake in India, 16 Kms. long and 10 Kms wide. The river Jhelum enters it from the Southeast and leaves it to the west near Sopore, which is a typical delta formed by the silt. Small streams like Habuja, Anrah, Erin, Pohru, and Madhumati at Bandipur flow into the lake. The river Jhelum becomes shallow and sand banks appear in the river bed obstructing navigation. It is only in spring (May-July) that rainfall causes the snow to melt at higher elevations on the surrounding mountains and cause floods. The river Jhelum has been described as both a blessing and as a curse in floods.
Beyond Baramgul at Baramulla where the river is hardly 30 meters wide and 3 meters deep flowing between steep mountains, the Jhelum enters a narrow gorge through which it flows a distance of 128 kms. till it reaches Muzaffarabad (Domel) to join the river Kishen Ganga, which drains the northern rim of the Kashmir basin in Telal, Gurez and Sharda. At Uri the river changes its course and flows in through mountain ranges towards Muzaffarabad (1543 meters) with a fall of 1: 160.
The river Jhelum called the ‘Vyeth’ in Kashmiri, ‘Vetasta’ in Sanskrit,’Hydapas’ in Greek and ‘Bidapas’ of Ptolemy, forms the main arterial system to the valley with its affluent canals and lakes. The basis of the name Jhelum is apparently of Muslim origin as Abu Raihan al Biruni calls it JAILAM, perhaps derived from ‘Jihl’ implying slowness on the analogy of Kahil or Al Hadi for the Pacific. Cirivara sanskritizes the name into Jaylami.
The river Jhelum is a trough formed between the Great Himalayan range and the Pir Panjal range. Oval in shape, the diameter of the valley runs parallel to the general direction of the two ranges of about 230 Kms. The alluvium, with which the valley is filled, has a depth of 6000 ft. which according to geologists gave shape to a unique geometric character in the form of lacustrine and fluvatile karewas bordering the margins of the mountains surrounding the valley.
History is witness to the fact that much of the internal commerce depended on the Jhelum. If Egypt be the gift of Nile, it is truer that Kashmir is gift of Jhelum. There is no other instance of a valley of the dimensions of the Kashmir and at an altitude of over 5000 ft. above the sea level, having a broad river intersecting it for such a long distance. Before the construction of motor able road between Srinagar and Khanabal and also between Srinagar and Baramulla (Jhelum Valley Road), it was the Jhelum which was the great highway of passenger and goods traffic up and down the valley.
Srinagar since the dawn of history has remained the capital city of the Kashmir Valley and its growth through different periods of Kashmir history has been very interesting. This Venice of the East owed its importance to its compactness and its large population, its organized public opinion and the superior culture of its inhabitants. ‘Its alliance or opposition almost always proved a decisive factor in determining the fortunes of war’. Besides, Srinagar’s artisans made the city an emporia of trade. Thus it’s central, commercial, political and cultural importance explains why the attempts made from time to time to remove the seat of government to some other place proved abortive.
During the Muslim rule (1320-1819) in Kashmir the ancient name of the capital fell into disuse. The city of Srinagar was termed ‘Kashmir’, the same as country. Accordingly with the exception of Mirza Haidar, Abul Fazl, and Jahangir, almost all Mughal chroniclers call it either ‘Kashmir’ or ‘Shahr-i-Kashmir’. Bernnier and Desideri who visited Kashmir during the Mughal rule also use the name ‘Kashmir’ and not Srinagar for the capital. For several centuries Srinagar was thus known until the advent of the Sikhs in 1819 who restored the old Hindu name, by which it is at present called.
Most of the towns like Anantnag, Bijbehara, Awantipur, Pulwama, Pampur, Srinagar, Safapore, Bandipur, Sopor, Varmul, Bonyar and Uri etc. have thrived on the banks of river Jhelum and lake fronts. The Srinagar City has grown over the past 23 centuries at an average elevation of 1586 meters above M.S.L. on either banks of river Jhelum of Kashmir valley, so vast and so level that the people living here have forgotten that they live in Himalayas. Making a sharp loop the Jhelum (200 ft. wide) swirls through the heart of Srinagar City. The City has cradled along Jhelum over a length of about 20 Kms. and an average depth of 5 Kms. each on either side. The City has distinctly a twin city character.
Old city is huddled brick to brick and roof to roof in most parts. It has practically no parks and play fields. Mini grave yards in some huddled parts serve as lung spaces. It is a city of narrow lanes 4 to 6 ft.wide. About the old city of Srinagar, Col. Torren wrote in his travels about 130 years back that ‘ The houses huddled themselves close together and at last form a street—narrow, dirty and strong warm light, on the dark, foul foot way and through it you see the sluggish stream glittering in the sun light and covered with boats of all sizes, and on the left bank you see reproduced a facsimile of the right bank, the same houses and the same land places, the same people in the crowded dwellings of the capital city of Srinagar’.
‘What Col. Torren had seen more than a century before, we find such characteristics and form of the city still existing in old parts of the city, for their has been no effort by the State Govt. in the direction of the conservative surgery, road widening and slum clearance. The Circular Road Project under Urban Renewal Programme seems to have been left half way in many parts of the core area.
The chronological development of Srinagar City has been as under:
250 B.C.: Srinagri the city of Sri, an appellation of goddess Lakshmi founded by King Asoka at the site of present village of Pandrethan on the right bank of river Jhelum, about two and a half kilometer from the Takht-i-Sulaiman hill. Pandrethan derives its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Puranadhisthana’ literally, the old capital.
6th century A.D.: A new city was founded by Paravarsen II near Kohi Maran hill. This was called Paravarapora and extended only along the right bank of the river Jhelum. It was the old name of Srinagari which triumphed over the new city of Paravarpura.
The later Hindu rulers are reported to have transferred the capital from one place to another. Laltaditya founded Parihaspura, Jaipida laid out the city of Jayapura, Avantivarman founded the city of Avantipura. Samkarapura, Kaniskapura, Juskapura and Hushkapura were some other ancient capitals of Kashmir. But all these later capitals lost their importance and decayed as is seen by their ruins. It was the capital of Parversen alone which has survived various attempts to change it.
1028-63 A.D.: King Ananta transferred the royal palace to the left bank of River Jhelum.
1344-56 A.D.: Sultan Alauddin founded Alauddinpora at Srinagar which at present comprises the locality situated between Jamia Masjid and Alikadal. He made Jayapidpora as his capital and built Cri Rinchanpora, an edifice named Bughagira, which is now a mohalla near Ali Kadal in Srinagar.
1356-74 A.D.: Sultan Shihabuddin selected the Hari Parbat for his capital. He extended the borders of GREATER KASHMIR to Phakli, Kabul, Badhakhshan, Ghazni, Ghor, Kandhar and Heart on the west and Gilgit and Dardistan on the North and Jammu, Kishtwar, Swad, Peshawur, Multan, Lahore, whole of Punjab and defeated the army of Feroz Shah Thghaluq on the banks of Satluj near Delhi, when Hazrat Amir Kabir Mir Sayid Ali Hamdani intervened and a truce was entered into between the two kings, fixing Sirhind as the border of GREATER KASHMIR on the South.
1374-89 A.D.: Sultan Qutbuddin laid the foundation of Qutbuddinpora, on which two mohallas of Srinagar namely Langarhatta and Pir Haji Mohammad now stand.
1389-1413 A.D.: Sultan Sikandar built a mosque known as Khankahi Mualla on the right bank of river Jhelum. He also built Jamia Mosque.
1420-70 A.D.: Sultan Zainul Aabidin (Budshah) built Zainakadal, founded Nav Shahar near Srinagar, the Mar Canal—main artery of communication between the Srinagar city and the villages near the Dal Lake.Budshah built the Khanqah of Sayid Mohammad Madni near Navshehr—the new capital built by him, besides two artificial isles of Rupa-Lank and Sona-Lank to beautify the city. He is reported to have introduced the new industries like that of shawl, carpet, silk, papier machie, wood-carving, namdha and ghabba. These industries made Srinagar famous emporium of trade. In addition he introduced stone- polishing, stone-cutting, glass-blowing, widow-cutting, gold and silver leaf making, book-binding and above all paper manufacture in Kagazgari mohalla at Naushehar. These industries were found only in Samarqand and Bukhara at the time.
1470-72 A.D.: Sultan Haidar Shah transferred his seat of government from Naushehar to Nowhatta.
1472-84 A.D.: Sultan Hasan Shah shifted the capital to Naushehar again.
!540-50 A.D.: Mirza Haidar Dughlat found the city of Srinagar thickly populated. In his time there were lofty buildings constructed of freshly cut pine. According to him most of these buildings were five storied, each story containing apartments, halls, galleries and towers. The streets were paved with stone. There were shops of retail dealers, grocers, drapers etc. There were no large bazaars, for the wholesale business was done by the traders in their own houses or factories. During his regime there was lot of musicians. And he is praised for introducing the hot-baths, latticed windows and the apparatus of drying paddy, locally known as ‘narahlul’.
1555-86 A.D.: Chak rulers marked by internal feuds.
1586-1753A.D.: Mughals ruled Kashmir. During the early period of this rule Srinagar became the headquarters of the army occupation, constantly engaged in war. The political history during the Moghul rule is centered round the Hari Parbhat fort, Takht-i-Sulaiman hill, Nowhatta, Naushahar and the area in the vicinity of Jamia Mosque. The events that occurred in these parts of the city during Akbar’s reign were very decisive for Kashmir. Akbar first entered Kashmir on 5th June 1589. During the second visit to the city on 7th October 1592, the great Moghul enjoyed the saffron blossom at Pampore and celebrated the festival of Diwali. On this occasion the boats on the Jhelum, the banks of the river and the roofs of the houses in Srinagar were illuminated at the Emperor’s command. Akbar’s third visit to Kashmir on 6th June 1597 was accompanied with the famine, which forced the mothers of children to put them on sale in public places in the city. The emperor is said to have ordered a strongly bastioned stone wall to be built around the slope of the Hari Parbhat hillock in the city. The township within this fort wall was named as ‘Nagar Nagar’
1606-1628 A.D.; Jehangir became so enamored of the vale of Kashmir as to make it ‘the place of his favorite abode, and he often declared that he would rather be deprived of every province of his mighty empire than loose Kachemire’. His visits to the valley brought an era of splendor and prosperity to Srinagar. It is said that in his time there were 800 gardens in the vicinity of Dal Lake ‘and the owners, the nobles of the court, were certain to follow the example of their master in making full use of the facilities that Kashmir so readily offers for pleasure- seeking and enjoyment.
1664-65 A.D.: Aurangzeb’s governor Islam Khan rebuilt Ali Masjid at Idgah, a 16th century dilapidated structure, and lined its extensive compound with chinar trees.
1665-68 A.D.: Saif Khan laid out the garden of Saifabad on the banks of the Dal Lake.
1669-72 A.D.: Saif Khan spanned the Safa Kadal Bridge over the Jhelum in Srinagar in 1670.
1698-1701 A.D.: Fazil Khan raised the embankment (bund) at Haft Chinar near Hazuri Bagh in the city to save it from recurrent floods of the Doodhganga River. The bund was lined with chinar trees to strengthen it.
1669A.D. The Holy relic (Moi Mubarak) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBH) brought to the city by a rich Kashmiri merchant Noor-ud-Din Ishbari. The relic was later on kept at Hazratbal mosque (Baghi Sadiq abad), which is known as Second Madina (Madinat-ul-Thani) , because of its supreme religious importance in Kashmir.
Under the Mughals Srinagar was a splendid city by the standards of the time. Father Xavier, Abul Fazl, Fransisco Pelsaert, Jahangir, Bernier and Desideri have all described the city as it existed during the Mughal period. Abul Fazl found the capital of Kashmir a very fascinating city. He remarks, ‘Srinagar is a great city and has long been peopled. The river Behat (Jhelum) flows through it. Most of the houses are of wood and some raise up to five storeys. On the roofs they plant tulips and other flowers, and in the spring these rival flower gardens’. Jahangir described the practice of planting tulip flowers on the roofs of buildings as a peculiarity of the people of Kashmir. Francisco Pelsaert, written in Emperor Jahangir’s time, says,’ the city is very extensive and contains many mosques. The houses are built of pine wood, the interstices being filled with clay, and their style is by no means contemptible; they look elegant, and fit for citizens rather than peasants, and they are ventilated with handsome and artistic open-work, instead of windows or glass. They have flat roofs entirely covered with earth, on which the inhabitants often grow onions, or which are covered with grass, so that during the rains the green roofs and groves make the city most beautiful on a distant view.
Francois Bernier, the famous French physician and traveler, visited Srinagar during Aurangzeb’s reign. He calls the valley of Kashmir the paradise of the Indies. There were only two bridges on river Jhelum. Describing the houses in the city, he remarks that although most part is of wood, the houses were well built and consisted of two or three storeys. Wood was preferred by the people of the city because of its cheapness and the facility with which it was brought from the mountains by means of so many small rivers. Most of the houses in the city had also their gardens, and not a few had a canal. On which the owner kept ‘a pleasure boat, thus communicating with the lake’.
Father Ippolito Desideri and Manoel Freyre arrived in Srinagar on 13th November, 1714. The later in a letter from Agra dated 26th April,1717, dwells on the same points that Desideri had noted—the populous character of Srinagar, its lakes surrounded by pleasant gardens and crowded with boats for pleasure and commerce and the lilies growing on the roofs of the houses. Desideri makes mention of the small and large boats. The later must have been the ‘doonga’, the precursor of the modern houseboat. Indeed, Desideri seeing Srinagar at the end of Mughal rule, found it at its best.
1713-1819A.D: Afghans ruled the valley. Some of the Afghan Governors did much for the beautification of Kashmir’s capital. Amir Khan Jawansher (1770-76) reconstructed the Sona Lank in the Dal Lake and raised a seven storied mansion upon it. He rebuilt the Amira Kadal Bridge, which had been washed away by inundation in 1772. He also laid out Amirabad garden with beautiful pavilions in the Mughal gardens. But the most beautiful building built by Jawansher was the fort of Sherghari which is now in ruins.
Another Afghan governor Ata Mohammad Khan Barkazai (1806-13) constructed the massive fort on the top of the Hari Parbhat hillock.
George Forster who arrived in Srinagar on 7th May, 1783 during the Afghan rule, like Bernier, calls it Kashmir. Srinagar had evidently grown since Bernier’s visit, as Forster says that the city extends about 3 miles on each side of the Jhelum. While Bernier had noted only two bridges spanning the river in the city. Forster observed that there were 4 or 5 bridges. But the traveler describes the streets of Srinagar as filthy which shows the deterioration had set in under the later Mughals and Aghans.
1819-1846 A.D.: Sikh rule—with the assumption of political power by the Sikhs in Kashmir in 1819, the old Hindu name of the capital of Kashmir was restored. Moorcraft, Hugel, Vigne and Schonberg who visited the valley during the Sikh rule have left their impressions in their works. It seems that the general lot of the city population did not improve under the Sikh regime. According to Moorcraft, ‘the general condition of the city of Srinagar is that of the confused mass of ill favored buildings forming a complicated labyrinth of narrow and dirty lanes, scarcely broad enough for a single cart to pass, badly paved, and having a small gutter in the centre full of filth, banked up on each side by a border of mire. The houses are generally two to three storey’s high, built of unburnt bricks and timber, the former serving for little else than to fill up the interstices of the latter, they are not plastered, are badly constructed and are mostly in a neglected and ruinous condition, with broken doors, or no door at all, with shattered lattices, windows stopped up with boards, paper or rags, walls out of the perpendicular and pitched roofs threatening to fall—The houses of the better classes are commonly detached, and surrounded by a wall and garden, the latter of which often communicate with a canal and the whole presents a striking picture of wretchedness and decay.
Moorcraft also describes the several canals in the city which were crossed at various places by stone and wooden bridges. But their general condition during the Sikh rule was that of decay and they were choked with filth.
1846-90 A.D.: In the early part of the Dogra rule, Srinagar presented a very sad picture. There was deterioration in the physical appearance of the city. The streets were full of filth. There were only a few public buildings in Srinagar, the principal of them were the ‘Barahdari’, Palace, fort, gun factory, dispensary, school and the mint; and also some ancient mosques and temples and cemeteries. The narrow streets were dirty and choked with the traffic of pack animals, horses, pariah dogs, donkeys, cows and pedestrians. In the rainy season the streets were extremely muddy owing to the absence of any drainage system. Both the drainage and the water supply had been grossly neglected.
Srinagar even lacked ordinary sanitary arrangements. The majority of the inhabitants used the public streets or the lanes or the courtyards of their own houses as latrines. This had been going on from time immemorial, wrote General de Bourbel who submitted a report on the epidemic of 1888. As a result of the accumulation of the filth, soil had become contaminated. Private houses with a few exceptions had no privy, and even those few were seldom cleared. Dr. Mitra, the able and energetic Chief Medical Officer of Kashmir, in a pamphlet on Medical and Surgical practice in Kashmir, tells the same story regarding want of sanitary arrangements in Srinagar. Human ordure is scattered—all over the town from the roads and houses on the river bank, drains carrying the slush, filth and sewage empty in to the river, on which the washer men wash unclean clothes; the dyers wash their dyes and the butcher entrails of animals.
The city of Srinagar started with certain initial advantages. In the first place, the Jhelum provided a regular highway as well as means of water supply. Besides the city was so well situated that it became since ancient times the natural capital of Kashmir, the emporium of trade and the seat of culture and industry. But unfortunately, as the population grew, the defects of the city became apparent. Firstly Srinagar was subject to floods owing its low lying position. Secondly the river which was the main means of transport became by its pollution from the drains of the houses on its banks a great source of danger to public health. Thirdly as the population grew, the city limits expanded. The expansion took place without any systematic town planning. This resulted in to irregular narrow streets, ill-ventilated and ill-planned houses, congestion and defective drainage.
The result of all this was that the health and sanitation conditions in the city became unsatisfactory. Not only did the river Jhelum carry filth & drainage, but also the canals inside the city were mostly silted up. Other insanitary evils that existed in Srinagar were overcrowded burial grounds, unclean slaughter houses, slimy tanks etc. It may also be noted that thousands of pariah dogs, starving donkeys and cows lived on this filth.
Such was Srinagar about a century ago. The constant presence in the city of cholera and other infectious diseases was therefore scarcely to be wondered at. Lawrence wrote that ‘the centre and nursery of cholera in Kashmir’ was ’the foul and the squalid capital, Srinagar’
Apart from cholera, earthquakes, floods, fires, and famines were the recurrent visitors to the city.
The history of urban improvement in Srinagar dates back to 1886, when the first Municipality Act was passed. As a result of later extensions, Srinagar expanded rapidly. By 1941 the city extended over an area of about 4 miles in length and about 2 miles in width. The increase in the area of the city, its growth as a centre of economic, political, administrative and religious activities and the increase in the number of its inhabitants are all independent. The urbanization on a massive scale continues to take place with migration of rural population without any check. The whole of Kashmir rotated round the city of Srinagar. There had been a continuous and ever- increasing rural response to the urban challenge. The city acted as a catalyst for socio-cultural change. The presence of colleges, schools, hospitals and hotels in Srinagar meant a new kind of existence for the rural immigrants. There was also a reverse migration to the mofussil of professionals, teachers, lawyers and Govt. servants. The outcome of this reciprocal pull between the city and the country, modernization of Kashmir, was well under way at the turn of the 20th century.
Kashmir, having been wrested from the Afghans by the Sikhs in 1819, was attached to the Punjab until the British occupation of Lahore in 1846, when it was handed over to the British Govt. in lieu of indemnity. Instead of retaining Kashmir, the British assigned it by the treaty of Amritsar dated March 16, 1846 to Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu, in consideration of the valuable services he had rendered to the British during the Anglo-Sikh war.
Maharaja Gulab Singh and his successor Ranbir Singh regarded Kashmir as their personal property. They banished every thought of reform and reconstruction from their mind. They showed little or no interest in the social uplift of their subjects. But with the accession of Maharaja Partap Singh in 1885 occurred a big change. His reign saw the establishment of British Residency in Srinagar. The new Maharaja like his predecessor, resisted this encroachment on his power, but ultimately yielded to the British.
During 1885-1910, the Residency with its charming garden was occupied by a succession of British residents, whose period was marked by striking industrial developments and some of these proved an asset to the State and the people in general.
The transition from the medieval to the modern age is the keynote of Srinagar’s history in the last decade of the 19th century. It ushered in those forces and movements in the political, religious, literary and economic life which have produced the Srinagar of today. In the history of this transition, again the improved transport in the country, as conceived by the Residents, had an important role.
The Jhelum Valley cart –road was constructed in the mountainous terrain from Domel to Baramulla and was a feat of engineering by the State Engineer, Mr. Alkinson through Spedding and Co. contractors. The road connected Srinagar with the rail-head at Rawalpindi and was completed in Sept. 1890 during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh. The Jhelum Valley road ran 196 miles. One could travel in one day from Srinagar to Rawalpindi by car and in about 4 days by tonga. It was most commonly used by the travelers and was judged as one of the finest mountain roads in the world. The volume of trade also passed by this road in bullock carts and ekkas.
The construction of Jhelum Valley road had a tremendous impact on various aspects of life in Kashmir. The isolation of the city got diminished; visit of travelers and missionaries became faster and more frequent. The reforms in the administration with change of life- style of the inhabitants, new houses, metalled roads, masonry bridges, solid embankments and electric lights with the establishment of Public Works, Postal Telegraph, Forest and Financial Departments contributed a great deal to the social and material uplift of the people. The tourist Industry received a great boost as a result of the new communication system improving the economy of the concerned masses, besides generating employment opportunities.
Lawrence paints the following picture of Kashmir at the end of 19th Century:
One of the points which at once strikes a visitor to Kashmir is the absence of roads fit for wheeled carriage. In the flat country around the Wular Lake, low trollies resting on wheels roughly fashioned from the round trunks of trees are used for carrying the crops, but at the time when I write, there is no other wheeled carriage in Kashmir. There are roads along which ponies and bullocks can pass in fair weather, but roads as understood in other countries do not exist. The main roads at present connect Srinagar with Islamabad, Verinag, and Jammu via the Banihal Pass (9200 ft.) with Shupiyon, Bhimber, and Gujrat in Punjab via the Pir Panjal pass (11400 ft.) with Ganderbal at the mouth of the Sind valley, and Ladakh via the Zojila pass (11,300 ft.)with Bandipora And Gilgit via the Rajdiangan (11,700 ft.) and Burzil (13,500 ft.) or Kamri (13,101 ft.) passes and with Baramulla, whence a cart road runs down the Jhelum valley to the Punjab. In fair weather these roads, so for as the valley is concerned, are easy for the traveler, but heavy rains and snow render these difficult; and the frail bridges over the side streams are often carried away by the floods. There are no real difficulties in road-making in the valley, and when the cart- road now being constructed from Baramulla to Srinagar is completed, it is hoped that other cart- roads will be made. They will prove of the greatest benefit not only to the villagers, but also to the people of Srinagar, who will be no longer at the mercy of the boatmen, so clever in adulterating grain when it reaches the barges.
Thus Srinagar has survived as the capital for its beauty, strategic importance and intrinsic value. It is gifted with great natural advantages. The river Jhelum which winds its way through the thickly populated city, has served as the main artery of communication from times immemorial. The principal bazaars of the city are built along the river which has provided at all seasons the most convenient route for trade and traffic both up and down the valley. The Jhelum Valley road running parallel to the alignment of the Jhelum added to its charm. Thus economically Srinagar is a distributing centre for incoming merchandise from the different parts of the Valley.
Besides Srinagar is the point which commands trade routes to India and Central Asia. Also the Dal and Anchar lakes which flank Srinagar with their numerous agricultural products fulfill the needs of the city population. The lakes and the rivers make Srinagar invulnerable. In addition Srinagar is centrally situated, being equi-distant from the two chief commercial towns of the valley, Anantnag and Varmul. Srinagar is almost equi-distant from Jammu, Rawalpindi, Leh and Gilgit.
The future of Kashmir valley in general and that of Srinagar City in particular is directly linked and wedded with the condition and beautification of River Jhelum. In fact the project report on Inland Water Transport on River Jhelum from Pampore to Chattabal prepared by the Srinagar Development Authority at a cost of Rs. 25 Lakhs. In the year 1999 is gathering dust on the shelves of LAWWDA. The project is reported to be financially viable, technically feasible and would give a boost to the beatification and also to the improvement of tourism and thereby a flip to the economy of the valley. The programme has a potential for extension of the water transport to Khanabal in the South and to Varmul in the North, besides covering the Dal Lake and Wullar Lake as well.
Due to the water transport being the only means of transportation, the boat industry of Kashmir was of great importance. The industry has been very old in Kashmir and we learn from Ain-e-Akbari that boats were the centre around which all commerce revolved. The Hanjis or the Boatmen were about 24000 in number about a hundred years back. The present numbers are expected to be much higher. Their vocation used to bring them in to contact with all classes of population. There used to be many kinds of boats all flat bottomed excluding boats owned by private persons and used for private purposes, there were about 2417 boats employed in trade and passenger traffic in 1890’s. Of these 1066 were of larger size.
The greater portion of the grains and wood imported in to Srinagar by the river was brought in large barges not unlike canal barges and these were towed or polled upstream and dropped down with the current. The boats were called Bahats, Dunga, Shikara, Demb Nao, Tsatwar, Parinda and Larinda according to their size, composition and usage.
Lawrence had predicted that evil days are in store for the boatmen of Kashmir. Forest conservation will make it difficult to obtain the long planks of cedar of which the boats used to be made and the deodar punt pole, so precious to the bargeman, will be a thing of the past.
The House boat has been a later innovation as there was no ban on the occupation of the water as against that of the land for non state subjects, an Englishman Mr. M.T. Kennard is said to have built the first house boat in Srinagar about 1888 which ultimately gave birth to hundreds of house boats for tourists as we see today.
Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE,CEng (I)—Chief Engineer (Retd.)



Sri stands for the Sun and Nagar for the city hence The Sun City.

272—231 B.C.——King Asoka founded Sri Nagra at Purana Dishtina (now Pandrethan)—old capital. A Sun temple having a pyramidal roof, stone carvings are the only remains of the original old capital.

631 A.D.—— King Parvarsena ii built his town close to Kohi Maran (hillock) which lies in the centre of the present city. He named it as Parverpora. Although safe from floods, the site had a limited area.

725—753 A.D.—King Lalitaditya burnt down Parverpora and built his capital Parihaspora about 20 Kms. away from the Srinagar city centre.

9th century A.D.—Suyya –the Minister engineer of King Awantivarman undertook the drainage of Kashmir valley, which was mostly submerged, thus vast lands for cultivation and also for the settlement were made available.

1128 A.D.—Zulchu Khan invaded Kashmir and burnt the city of Lalitaditya.

14th century.—King Rinchan Shah (Sultan Sadr-ud-Din) built his city at Budhgair on the right bank of river Jhelum. Central Asian architecture was introduced by the Muslim missionaries. The tomb of the first muslim missionary Bulbul Shah Sahib still exists aloft in Budhgair. ( A recently discovered manuscript records burial of Sayid Mohammad Baqir in 655 AH in Theun village near Wusan Kangan, who had come from Iran along with 1002 Sayids—a century earlier than Bulbul Shah.)

1342-54 A.D.—Sultan Ala-ud-Din extended Rinchan’s city along right bank of river Jhelum and built a new town Ala-ud-Din pora—now covering Khankahi Mualla and Malik Angan.

1429-70 A.D.—king Zainul Abidin built his capital 3 Kms. away from the city on north side and named it Nav-Shahr (new town) and opened a navigable channel (Nalla Mar) between Dal and Anchar Lake and also built the first bridge on river Jhelum called Zaina Kadal leading to the expansion of the city on the left bank as well.

15th. Century—Muslim rulers added 5 more bridges on river Jhelum.

1566-1752 A.D.—Mughals constructed mosques, gardens, a rampart/ fortification around central hillock of Kohi Maran, where King Akbar had built a township named Nagar nagari.

1752-1829—In Afghan rule Amir Mohammad Khan (1770-76) built a fort named Shergarhi on left bank of river Jhelum and a bridge on river Jhelum called Amira Kadal.

1810 A.D.—A dominant fort was built by Atta Mohammad Khan on the top of the hillock Kohi Maran.

1819-46 A.D.—In 1835 in Sikh rule Mahan Singh constructed gurdawara Chatti Padshahi. A navigable flood spill channel—Tsunti Khul constructed from Ram Munshi Bagh to Basant Bagh.

1846-1947 A.D.—Dogra rulers selected Shergarhi as their palace but later on shifted to Lake Front and used the Shergarhi as secretariat.

2nd half of 19th century—devastating floods, fires, famines and earthquakes struck the city but restoration was made simultaneously.

1890’s—Residency established, new schools, 1st intermediate college (S.P. College) and Central Library opened and piped water supply to city started.

1921-31—A silk factory and Govt. Woollen mill, Banihal Cart Road connecting Jammu and Rawalpindi constructed. Barbar Shah Bridge constructed, Gupkar road widened, Boulevard on Dal fringe connecting city with Mughal gardens, housing colonies came up at Wazir Bagh, Ram Munshi Bagh, Karan Nagar, Amar Singh Degree College, and S.M.H.S. Hospital got established.

1947—Dogra rule ended.

1947-1999—Srinagar city recorded a faster growth, but in a most haphazard manner. Small housing colonies of Jawahir nagar, Balgarden, Nursingh ghar, Sutra Shahi, Batamaloo, Chanapora, Bemina, Lal Bazar, Buchpora etc., Construction of Kashmir University, Regional Engineering College, Medical College, New Secretariat building, a good no. of educational institutions, hospitals,3 no. stadiums, fruit mandi, industrial estates, HMT, Bemina Woollen Mills, National Highway by-pass (17) Kms. got constructed.

1947-2000 A.D.—There was a sizable increase in other physical and social infrastructure but not commensurate with the population growth in the city.

Srinagar Municipality was established in Dogra rule in 1886. In 1960 it covered an area of 28 Sq. Kms. in2000 SMC consisted of 17 wards with 952 mohallas and/ or villages and covered an area of 177 sq. Kms.

The 1st Master Plan 1971-1991 was extended till 2000 and a new Master Plan for 2000-2021 was prepared by the SDA and approved by the Govt. for implementation. It was recommended that an Apex Agency headed by a Senior Officer be appointed for ensuring periodical review of the Master Plan, its implementation and achievements of targets, monitoring of urban growth and development, failing which this Master Plan will be another plan on the shelf. We have lost 10 golden years and zonal plans are yet to come up and future progeny will curse us for the haphazard growth of the expanded city.

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili

Chief Engineer (Retd.)