LAWDA floats over troubled waters

Illegal constructions go unabated
Water channel filled with soil in Dal, officials in slumber
LAWDA floats over troubled watersIn brazen violation of State High Court orders, massive encroachment is taking place in famed Dal Lake with ‘influential’ people extending encroachments in connivance with the officials of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).
Ironically a water channel in the interiors of the Dal stretching from Chowdhary Bagh to Daga Mohalla has been filled up with soil and structures have been started coming up there.
According to local news gathering agency CNS, the officials from LAWDA don’t bother to initiate action against the violators who are being patronized by some local political leaders.
The agency said that the Reporter after visiting the interiors of Dal was aghast after finding illegal structures coming up in broad day light in areas like Kankachi, Untimohalla, Lattimohalla and other internal parts of the lake. Even some people laced with shovels and spades were seen extending their agricultural fields, thus not only polluting the lake but also claiming the water body.
 “Look at this road. It used to be a water channel and recently it was blocked and filled with soil. Now look at those structures. These did not exist two months ago. All this has been happening in connivance with the LAWDA officials who facilitate encroachment for few bucks,” a local from Chowdhary Bagh told CNS.
 “I used to swim here when I was young. Everything is gone. Greed has brought destruction and this Lake is dying its own death,” said an old man Muhammad Yaseen pointing towards Ashraf kadal.
 “I still remember there used to be few temporary huts where some people used to do sewing job but today we see a concrete and permanent Colony here. I must say Dal is in mess,” said another local Asghar Ali pointing towards Latti mohalla.
Surprisingly near Pokhribal, which acts as a major outflow channel for Nigeen and the Dal lake, people have planted trees, raised floating gardens and extended land by weeds and mounds of earth dug out for the canal itself. “It is a big mafia here where some officials in a bid to earn quick bucks allow every Tom Dick and Harry to indulge in illegal practice. For God sake, can anybody tell who allows Tippers to ferry construction material during night hours here,” a respectable citizen from the area questioned.
Locals alleged that most of people who indulge in encroachment are either influential or patronized by some political leaders. They told CNS that in order to divert attention the LAWDA goes to the sites inhabited by some poor people and demolish their shacks and houses without even rehabilitating them while never bother to question the influential ones.
A Kashmiri Pandit family from Malapora Rainawari which had migrated to Jammu in early 90’s said that they were shocked to see the condition of Dal after their arrival in Kashmir. “I used to go for a morning walk along Dal Banks but today that enjoyable walk is not possible as illegal constructions have come up at every fringe,” said Master Girdari Lal. “If the government does not wake up from the deep slumber, the day is not far away when the lake will be totally encroached,” he said.
When contacted, LAWDA officials as usual claimed that action will be initiated against violators and even added that no encroachment has been taking place anywhere.
 “I don’t have any knowledge about the land filling going on from Chowdary Bagh to Duga Mohalla. Something might have happened in past but at present no encroachments are taking place,” Vice Chairman LAWDA Sarmad Hafiz told CNS.

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