Dozens of protesters were reprtedly injured in tear gas shelling in Chadoora and its adjoining villages on Wednesday when locals staged protests against a project under ERA, being fed by Doodhganga waters.
The clashes between the residents of Sogam, Doyun and Dowlatpora villages of Chadoora area and police erupted when the locals were protesting against the proposed water supply scheme, alleging that it would dry up many other schemes in the area.
The protesters said that water level in Doodhganga has already decreased 'significantly.'
"Many schemes which are fed by the river have already got affected due to decreasing water level in Doodhganga," they said.
Protesters alleged that police, already deployed in strength to handle any law and order problem, restored to tear gas shelling and lathi charge besides aerial firing to disperse them.
Several protesters sustained injuries, they said.
"We are being deprived of drinking water facility by the government in a planned manner," Sajad Hussain, a protester said.
Meanwhile, former Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather told Greater Kashmir that government was making the project a point of prestige, adding that apprehensive locals must be heard before finalising the project.
"Those who have been made to dream of getting drinking water from the said project would get nothing out of it as the water level of river Doodhganga is receding," Rather said and added that it would only be wastage of Rs 43 crore.
Social activist, Advocate Abdul Rashid Hanjura, urged government to heed to the public outcry on the issue.
"The matter is of public importance and government must constitute a committee of experts and members of civil society who will study the matter jointly and make recommendations for permanent solutions to the issues being raised by the apprehensive locals. The tear gas shelling and use of force against agitating people is no solution of the problem," Hanjura said.
Director ERA, Malik Basharat Ahmad said that after analysis of 30 years, PHE identified and Irrigation department provided NOC to the project being funded by Asian Development Fund.
He added that the local population will be provided drinking water from the scheme on priority.
"We will be taking only surplus water from the river and separate arrangements of water for irrigation purpose will be made during peak farming season," Malik added.
However, the apprehensive locals have announced continuous strike till government rolls back the project.