Govt directs authorities to remove encroachments, demolish illegal structures

Govt directs authorities to remove encroachments, demolish illegal structure

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Government Monday directed authorities to remove encroachments and demolish illegal structures alongside the water bodies in the length and breadth of the state so that September 2014 like situation doesn’t recur again.
One of the top officials told reporters that the government has observed that authorities have focused only on Jhelum River by launching Flood Management Program and removal of illegal constructions on the river.
But similar attention needs to be paid towards other rivers and water bodies, which too had contributed in destruction during September 2014, official said.

“Illegal residential colonies that have come up on the wetlands and river banks over the decades are adding to the chances of floods not only in Srinagar city but in other parts of the State also. Now we have directed the concerned authorities in the state to launch forceful drive against illegal structures,” the top official wishing anonymity said.

It is to mention here that the committee on estimates headed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA, Javid Hassan Beigh and comprising of ten members of Legislative Assembly and two of Legislative Council in its report observed that Irrigation and Flood Control Department has yet not prepared any blue print to ensure that September 2014 like situation doesn’t recur in any part of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The department should remove all illegal structures along the water bodies with the assistance of police under the directions of Deputy Commissioner concerned and stern action should be taken against the erring persons,” the Committee had said, adding “the Government should in view of topography and requirement/ problems of people direct the Irrigation and Flood Control Department to prepare a blueprint for completion of all projects/schemes on major rivers and water bodies in the State.”

Following the September 2014 floods, the High Court had directed the government to remove encroachments along the water bodies.

After which Government removed constructions on several places on the banks of Jhelum.

Meanwhile people allege that a huge construction has also been raised near Zero Bridge Srinagar in the flood channel.

“The building is being constructed just few hundred meters away from Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control office. So far, three storey structure has been constructed and pillars have been erected for the fourth one,” residents in Rajbagh said.

Rajbagh residents said construction were started in 2016 during the unrest.

“Till 2016 end, we did not know because the place where the construction is taking place was fully covered with green tarpaulin so that nobody raises objections,”

Muneer Ahmad , a resident of Rajbagh, said. “When it was raised to second storey then we got to know about it.”

A shopkeeper at the Rajbagh said that SMC did not allow them even minor repairs of the shops which were destroyed by 2014 floods without proper permission.”

“It seems that rules are only for common masses while government is allowing constructions for influential people even in flood channel,” the shopkeeper said.

Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, is being quoted to have said that government had granted permission for the said construction in 2010.

“All departments, including SMC, Irrigation and Flood Control Department had given NOC in 2010 for the construction.”

Jhelum, the important river of Valley, is at the receiving end of encroachments, pollution, and dumping. Illegal constructions are infringing the river embankments at various places in the city including Chattabal, Qamarwari, and its adjoining areas.

Padshahi Canal situated in Ganderbal too bear the brunt of it. It has shrunk to “3 to 5 feet”. (RK)

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