Srinagar: Encroachments and illegal construction along the Nallah Ameer Khan’ which connects Dal lake with the Anchar lake in the Srinagar city are rampant while the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Lakes And Water Bodies Development Authority (LAWDA) are mostly caught napping.
At Nowshera where the stream opens into Gilsar lake, construction is going on full swing on an encroached patch of lake land.
Residents say the ‘illegal’ structures along with “dead” sewage system around the area are proving to be final nails in the coffin of ‘dead’ water body.
“Half of the water bodies in and around Srinagar have disappeared over the last century under the pressure of rapid, and badly managed urbanisation. Many have shrunk to a fraction of their original size while some have all but disappeared,” Ghulam Qadar Khan, an elderly resident of Nowshehra said.
Another senior citizen recalled the time when the water of the stream was fit for drinking.
“We used to drink the water, and the stream was crowded in summers with swimmers taking respite from the heat,” he said.
Experts and residents said the swamps around the lakes which are vulnerable to encroachment acted as storage of excessive water in summers thereby preventing large areas of the valley from floods.
“Putting the blame on each other the SMC and LAWDA have been at loggerheads while the construction is slowly going on in the area not to forget the sewage water which also gets drained in the same. The embankments along the nallah have turned out to be a dumping site while SMC blames the locals. We have been requesting the concerned departments from last three years, but nothing substantial has been done so far” a local resident said.
Ward Officer (17) of the area Manzoor Ahmed said he has been posted here two months back.
“I have only been here from last two months. There hasn’t been any illegal construction except one which has been sealed off by the authorities. Other structures have been there for some time and I haven’t received any complaints regarding the matter.” Ahmad said. “Rest it is the LAWDA that actually takes control of the encroachment drive along the water bodies”.
Similar situation is visible along Botakadal and Amdakadal areas where shopping malls and commercial buildings have come along the stream bank, while many residents have extended courtyards or set up lavatories on the nallah itself.