Srinagar, Feb 26: The Jammu and Kashmir Government has directed authorities to remove illegal encroachments along water bodies in the length and breadth of the state so that September 2014 like situation doesn’t recur.
One of the top officials, as per KNS, said that the government has observed that authorities has only laid focus on Jhelum River by launching Flood Management Programme and removal of illegal constructions, similar attention needs to be paid towards other rivers and water bodies, which too had contributed in destruction during September 2014.
“Illegal residential colonies that have come up on the wet lands and river banks over the decades are aggravating 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,” insisted not to be named, the official maintained.
It is to mention here that the committee on estimates headed by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA, Javid Hassan Beigh and comprising of 10 Members of Legislative Assembly and two of Legislative Council in its report has 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 of 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 Jehlum.
Meanwhile people allege that a big 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 storeys have been constructed and pillars have been erected for the fourth one,” one of the local residents in Rajbagh told this KNS correspondent.
Locals at the Rajbagh, 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 for minor repairs without proper permission, whose shops were destroyed by 2014 floods. “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, was 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, one of the oldest rivers of the Valley, is at the receiving end of encroachments, pollution, and dumping. Illegal establishments are infringing the river embankments at various places in the city including Chattabal, Qamarwari, and its adjoining areas. Padshahi Canal situated in Ganderbal too bore the brunt of it. It has shrunk to “3 to 5 feet from the range of 17 to 27 feet”.
Rail service resumes
Srinagar, Nov 12: Rail services in Kashmir resumed on Tuesday – over three months after being suspended due to security reasons in view of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, officials said.
Few mini-buses also plied on the Batwara-Batamaloo route through the city centre, while inter-district cabs and auto-rickshaws plied in the city and elsewhere in the valley.
Private transport was plying unhindered.
A railway official told PTI that a train chugged between Baramulla and Srinagar this morning.
He said the train made only two trips on the Baramulla-Srinagar stretch as authorities have directed Railways to ply trains between 10 am and 3 pm only due to security reasons.
The Railways conducted the trial run of the service on the stretch on Monday for the first time in over three months since the unannounced shutdown in the valley.
The official said the Srinagar-Banihal stretch of the railway line would resume in a few days after checking track safety and conducting trial runs.
The train service in the valley was suspended due to security reasons on the morning of 5 August – hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
The Centre’s decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley – which completed 100 days on Tuesday — even as authorities imposed severe restrictions which were later gradually eased out.
Markets have been following a new pattern of functioning, opening early morning till around the noon and then downing their shutters to join the protest against abrogation of the special status of the state, officials said.
They said miscreants are using fear mongering to put down any resistance to unannounced shutdown by threatening shopkeepers and businessmen.
The officials said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
Pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continued to remain suspended since 5 August.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety Act.
Militant killed in Ganderbal gunfight
Srinagar, Nov 12: A militant was killed and an Army soldier injured in an encounter between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday, police said.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Kulan area of the central Kashmir district in the morning following inputs about the presence of militants.
During the search, the hiding militants fired upon the security forces, who retaliated, according to an officer.
A militant was killed during the gunfight. An army soldier was also injured and rushed to a medical facility for treatment, the officer said.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained. The operation is on and further details are awaited, the officer added.
The incident comes after the encounter where two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Monday morning, police said.
While one militant was killed on Sunday during a gunfight between security forces in Lawdara village, about 55 km from Srinagar, another was killed on Monday, police further said. The security forces started a search operation on getting information about the presence of some militants in the area which led to the encounter between the security forces and the militants.
The streak of encounters continues as the state of Kashmir remains under an unprecedented lockdown after the abrogation of article 370.
Unscheduled power cuts affect research in KU
Srinagar, Nov 05: Unscheduled power cuts have severely hit the research work in the University of Kashmir.
“I am doing research on plant ecology and most of my work depends on high definition equipments which work on electricity. I collected plant samples twice from Gulmarg and kept it in freezer for further examination. For four days there was no electricity and with the result my samples became unusable,” said a research scholar.
Another research scholar in Kashmir University said due to frequent power cuts their research work is getting affected. “My equipment developed errors due to power cuts. With the result, it started displaying false readings”, he said.
An official in the Kashmir University said over Rs 25 crore have been sanctioned for 50 different projects in the department of biotechnology, clinical bio-chemistry, botany, zoology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, environmental science, physics, electronics and chemistry.
“The high definition equipment, which works in -80, -20, -120 temperature, are imported from abroad. Regular power cuts are affecting these equipments,” the official said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat said Kashmir University being a premier institute should install a backup power system to meet exigencies.
“PDD has proposed to provide dedicated power supply from 33 KV line. Once the university credits the amount, we will start work on installation of the line,” Qazi said.
Spokesperson of Kashmir University, Professor Shahid Rasool said the issue has not been brought into hid notice. “I will check with the department heads and resolve it as soon as possible,” he said.
Sources said Kashmir University had signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PDD to provide 24*7 power supply. Sources said two kanals of land was also earmarked for establishing receiving station for uninterrupted power supply. Sources said Kashmir University is paying Rs 4.2 lakh as monthly electricity tariff to the PDD.