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Illegal encroachments continue under garb of violence
Govt to seek help from respectable people
8/23/2017 10:10:03 PM

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Aug 23: While the law and order problem has forced the government to give up the anti-encroachment drive, the government has decided to seek help from the respectable citizens in preserving the water bodies in Kashmir.
Official sources within the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said the law and order problem has forced the government to put the anti-encroachment drive on hold.
"Actually many people with vested interests want violence to continue. If law enforcing agencies go for demolition, some people create hue and cry and create law and order situation for their own benefits," the official said.
The official said these people resist, come onto the streets, and stage protests, creating law and order problem.
"Our job is to stop illegal encroachments, not to fight with the stone pelters, but some people do it for their own benefits." Following the September 2014 floods, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2015 had directed the government to remove encroachments along the water bodies.
"The deputy commissioners concerned are directed to remove the encroachments (along the water bodies) after following the due procedure of law," the High Court had said, in its orders after hearing a PIL on pollution and removal of encroachments.
After which, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department had initiated the drive to remove encroachments along the River Jehlum that has been stopped now.
The official said that it has been decided to stop the new illegal constructions. "The department can't do anything without the participation of people. It has been decided to seek help from the respectable citizens to stop illegal encroachments. The Imams (preachers) will also be requested to ask people in their sermons not to allow illegal constructions in their respective areas," the official said. The official said that encroachments and restoration of water bodies was not "possible" without the community participation.
A senior official of the Irrigation and Flood Control department said the Wular Lake, which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to host of factors. "Several surveys have found that gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, chocking of water ways and reduction in capacity of wet lands due to heavy siltation posing an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour," the official said.
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