Pollution, encroachments mar Jhelum’s beauty at Bijbehara

Islamabad: Failure of the authorities to take measures for conservation of river Jhelum here has pushed it on the verge of extinction.
 Considered to be lifeline of Kashmir, the river is marred by extensive pollution and encroachments particularly in Islamabad and Pulwama.
 By virtue of the Water Resources Regulation Act, the Irrigation and Flood Control department entrusted with conservation of Jhelum has been vested with executive powers to act against encroachers. Ironically, the department has been acting as a mute spectator to the vandalization of the river. 
 Many illegal constructions have come up on Jhelum banks near Khanabal bridge, Bijbehara, Sangam, Halmula, Awantipora, Kakpora, Samboora and Padhgampura.
 The locals accused the concerned officials of facilitating the encroachments. “Despite our reminders, the concerned authorities failed to act against the encroachers. Lackadaisical approach of the authorities has pushed the river on the verge of extinction,” said a group of locals of Bijbehara.
 Pointing towards some houses on river banks, the locals said till few decades ago the spot was an open expanse of land.
 “This was a beautiful spot… we used to watch crystal clear waters of Jhelum from here. People of the locality and adjoining areas used to organize picnics and functions there. In absence of any conservation measures, the river has been encroached and turned into a garbage dump,” said Ghulam Qadir of Bijbehara.
 The locals said the river banks have been turned into a junkyard with tons of polythene, cardboard, steel and other scavenged items dumped on it.
 Pungent smell has engulfed many localities along the Jhelum in Khanabal, Sangam, Awantipora and Kakpora as sewage of the illegal hutments directly flows into the river affecting its flora and fauna.
 “If government is serious to save Jhelum, it must take action against the encroachers and concerned officials who facilitated its vandalisation,” said Abdul Rehman, a resident of Kakpora.
 Environmentalists have expressed concern over Jhelum’s deteriorating condition. “Jhelum was the main source of drinking water for the Valley. The present rate of pollution from inflowing drains of its catchments and dumping of garbage, including non-bio-degradable items has rendered its waters unfit for human consumption,” they said
 They said dumping of large heaps of cow dung, waste of slaughter and tanning units on the slanting banks of Jhelum are washed into the river enriching its waters with harmful nutrients like nitrates, phosphates, sulphates and chlorides.
 “This has caused eutrophication of the river. Recently, Azolla, an obnoxious weed has been found in Jhelum, which is gradually chocking its tributaries. Beatification of Jhelum banks in Srinagar city is not enough. Government needs to work out a comprehensive action plan to restore Jhelum,” he added.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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