Restoration of Doodh Ganga

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On Saturday, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) asked the people to vacate the illegal encroachment on Doodh Ganga that passes in the midst of the city. The document signed by MC commissioner Athar Amir Khan has asked the encroachers to remove encroachments within seven days.

In his letter, SMC said that rejuvenation and restoration of Doodhganga nullah from Aalochi Bagh to Chattabal has been taken under smart city mission with MC’s drainage circle being the executing agency and it has been found that a number of encroachments and illegal structures have come up on the site of nulllah. The notices were given wide publicity but it sparked unease among the people who live close to flood channel.

Dood Gangha was an important flood channel and used to be helpful for city during floods or rains. However in the past three decades this channel has been massively encroached by both rich and poor even the government itself neglected rules and constructed important building close to the channel that has completely changed the status of this nullah and channel. Even small hutment have been constructed by poor people which is providing shelter to them.

But locals say while poor people have been served notices the government offices haven’t been served notices and people fear only their houses will be demolished under the garb of this anti encroachment drive. The poor residents first want government to initiate action against the government departments that had violated rules and then influential people who have erected shopping malls close to nullah.

Meanwhile, SMC wants to uplift the doodhganga nullah and had received good amount under Smart city project. With encroachment drive going across the entire J&K, people feel government wants to dislodge them. The retrieval of government land and restoration of waterbodies is a very good step but at the same time before taking this initiative the official should ensure rehabilitation of poor people, otherwise it will lose its essence.
Meanwhile SMC Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu said that people won’t be dislodged and said that misinformation is spread that recent public notice pertains to houses/structures. It does not. There will be no demolitions. He further said that residents along the route of project, including downtrodden colonies on the stretch have been assured the notice doesn’t pertain to their colonies or houses. This is a vital flood mitigation project which will first and foremost benefit residents from Aloochi Bagh to Chattabal.

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