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‘Illegal encroachments eating up originating spot of River Jehlum’

Civil Society members from Shahabad Verinag Thursday staged a protest against the failure of authorities to stop encroachments near the source of Verinag.
“The originating spot of River Jehlum was 180 feet wide but it has shrunk to 30 feet only due to unabated encroachments. The irony is that even lavatories have been set near the source of the Jehlum while the concerned departments particularly Verinag Development Authority and Municipal Committee Dooru Verinag are in slumber and act like ostrich,” said one of concerned citizens Mushtaq Ahmed.
“Despite court directions, authorities have failed to remove these encroachments. On the directions of Divisional Commissioner, the SDM Dooru had constituted a committee to dismantle these illegal structures, but that committee never worked on ground,” they said.
They said that High Court after devastating 204 floods had underscored the need to restore the originating point of the Jhelum to its original width. However, authorities including Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Public Health Engineering Department, Verinag Development Authority and Municipal Committee Dooru Verinag have miserably failed to take measures for removal of encroachments there.
The protesting Civil Society members appealed environmentalists and conscious citizens of Kashmir Valley to raise their voices against this tragedy.
“These hutments have disfigured the beauty of the Jehlum while the filth emanating from lavatories have been polluting the water. The concerned officials should be questioned and taken to task,” they demanded.
Mushtaq Ahmed who is the president of Greater Verinag Shahabad Civil Society while lamenting over the present condition of Jehlum river in Verinag said that during Maharaja’s rule in Kashmir even cyclists were not allowed to ply on the banks of river Jhelum and now illegal structures come up in broad day light with the connivance of government officials,” he said.