In a major decision, J&K administration has served warning notices to people living along the Jhelum river to remove illegal encroachments, while the dwellers termed the move ‘unplanned’ and urged authorities to rehabilitate them before executing any plan.
As per the officials at Irrigation and Flood Control Department the people who have been served the notices had illegally encroached Jhelum river and other waterbodies embankments across the Kashmir.
The move came after Jammu and Kashmir High Court had directed administration to remove the encroachments along with water bodies across Kashmir. The public interest litigation (PIL) was submitted by Noor Ul Haq vs State, following which the court issued orders.
However, thousands of families living along water bodies had termed the move by the administration 'unplanned and unpredicted'.
The residents of Pampore, Rajbagh, Shivpora, Tankipora, PanthaChowk, Shadipora, Asham, Sumbal, Sopore, Baramulla and other areas expressed resentment against the move and have urged to admin to conduct a detailed survey and rehabilitate them accordingly.
Junaid Fayaz, a local at Shivpora Srinagar told Rising Kashmir that I&FC department had served them notices to clear their structure near Jhelum river.
“We have lived here from the past 40 years and we have documents as well to prove the same. If the administration had any plan to expand the river, they should rehabilitate us not leave us homeless,” he said.
Junaid alleged move is aimed at homeless people in Kashmir on the name of preserving water bodies. “The admin should conduct a proper survey before issuing such notices to people,” he said.
Similarly, people from Sempora, Pampore, Pulwama and other places expressed their anger against the authorities for randomly serving notices without proper planning.
Mohammad Sadiq, a local at Bund Abi Guzar stated that they have been also served notice by the administration for illegally encroaching land of the Jhelum river.
“We are landless families and we were rehabilitated by the government and now this time, they are again serving us notices, which is very unfortunate,” he said.
As per Dhobi, the administration should rehabilitate them first rather than making them homeless along with the other families.
“Admin should launch a special drive to survey the families and provide them alternative lands or rehabilitate them elsewhere,” he said.
However, Chief Engineer at I&FC department Iftikhar Kakroo told Rising Kashmir that to preserve water bodies, they had issued the warning notices to those people who had encroached water bodies.
“We have issued the notices already so that they would themselves remove the same and ‘if anyone fails to remove encroachments, the department will take action against them,” he said.
CE stated that all encroachments along the river Jhelum would be removed by the department as directed by High court.
Another official at I&FC department stated that they had served notices to all those people who had illegally encroached embankments of the Jhelum.
“The valley has been divided into three subdivisions and over hundreds of people have been served court notices to clear the embankments in water bodies,” the official said.
As per the official, the demolition drive was delayed because of 15 August arrangements as they could get security cover, hopefully, after 17 August, the drive would be started to clear encroachments across Kashmir.
The official also added that during 2014 floods and the good portion of carrying capacity of river Jhelum was illegally encroached by people.
“Our main motive is to free river embankments and restore it exact level so that it cannot prove as a disaster in the future,” he said.