Srinagar, Feb 13: Scores of people living along the Doodh Ganga canal staged protest against the notice issued by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to remove encroachments in a week.
The aggrieved residents said that they have been living along the waterway for decades and want the government to stop the eviction drive.
On Saturday, SMC issued the notice warning encroachers to remove the illegal structures built over Doodh Ganga canal. SMC stated that the flood channel stretching from Alochi Bagh to Chattabal is an important channel for the management of stormwater and for preventing urban flooding in the Srinagar City.
The officials said that a number of encroachments and illegal structures have come up along the waterway, and removal of these structures is important for flood and storm water management in the City.
Scores of residents staged protest against the move. The residents living along the areas like Haft-Chinar, Alochi Bagh and adjacent areas said that they are from poor families.
“Since last few days, we are in distress and we want authorities to look into it without any delay. We have been living in the area for decades and where are we supposed to go now. We don’t want JCBs entering our area and leave us without a roof on our head,” said a local in the Haft-Chinar area.
Many locals at Alochi Bagh area had come out on roads along with their children against the notice. They said that they are from a marginalized section of Kashmir and want the government to stop demolishing their houses.
“I am living in a single room with my four kids and my husband is a labourer. Where are we supposed to go with our kids? We cannot afford to build a new house as we are hardly making ends meet. If the government wants to remove us from the area then there should be a proper rehabilitation plan and such things cannot be done in a few days,” said a female protestor.
The officials said that the flood channel, which has been turned into a dumping site and marred with encroachments, will be cleared soon. They said concrete walls and fences would be built at multiple places to fix the issue.
The restoration of Doodh Ganga Nallah from Alochi Bagh to Chatabal has been taken up under Srinagar Smart City Limited and officials claimed that it will be a landmark project.