Encroachments shall have to go, sooner the better: Chief Minister

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Encroachments shall have to go, sooner the better: Chief Minister

Mehbooba seeks people’s support for conservation of water bodies; ‘JK could be in for bigger disasters if we don’t act now’

SRINAGAR, JUNE 13: Talking tough against encroachers, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Monday said the State Government would do everything possible to preserve J&K’s treasured water bodies.

“The Government won’t allow encroachments in and around the water bodies and I urge the people to support us in this endeavor as otherwise we may be, God forbid, headed for more ferocious natural disasters than the devastating floods of September 2014,” the Chief Minister said while intervening in the reply to a question regarding flood management raised by MLA, M Y Tarigami in the Legislative Assembly today.

The Chief Minister said despite a fore-warning by the experts during 2011-12 about looming floods to hit Kashmir, their suggestions and recommendations were ignored which resulted in massive devastation in Valley by September 2014 deluge.

“We witnessed 2014 floods because of the massive encroachment of our water bodies. Now we are having encroachments in Dal Lake, We have lost Wullar Lake to lakhs of trees and similarly encroachments alongside Jhelum are rampant,” Ms Mehbooba said.

She said that Government is in the process of seeking technical and financial help from the Centre, to increase the carrying capacity of Wullar Lake, river Jhelum and its tributaries including Vaishaw and Rambiara nallahs in Kashmir and river Tawi and Chenab in Jammu.

“Unfortunately lakhs of plants which have come up in Wullar will take us years to clear them. However we are in consultation with the experts to enhance the capacity of main water bodies and their tributaries,” she said.

“I assure the House that that we are going to clear the encroachments, however it is going to take some time,” she maintained.

The Chief Minister said a flood-management program is also under implementation for river Jhelum under Prime Minister’s Development Plan.

Ms Mehbooba said while there was a massive water crisis looming across the country, J&K was mulling to adopt a comprehensive plan for rain water conservation. “We have a proper plan for the Rain Water Conservation and I have discussed the project with the Central Government as well,” she said.