Problems galore at LAWDA’s Dal dweller relocation project

Problems galore at LAWDA’s Dal dweller relocation project
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Poor connectivity, water shortage, lack of facilities frustrate resettled residents

Srinagar: Dal Lake dewellers who were sent for rehabilitation to Rakhiarth Housing Colony, Bemina, are facing many problems there, including a shortage of water and a dilapidated condition of roads.
Spread over 7,526 Kanals, the colony was supposed to be developed on modern lines, with all basic facilities like public parks, hospitals, schools, mosques and play fields, at a cost of Rs 416.72 crore, but nothing has as yet been done for it.
“The location given to us is very far from the main road. It becomes very difficult to cover a long distance. We face a lot of problems in meeting our daily basic needs, we don’t have basic facilities, the road is not developed, there is no school or any health care system,” said Showkat Ahmad Want, one of the afflicted residents.
According to people here, the colony road is bumpy and dotted with potholes. They said that due to the bad condition of the road “we cannot ply our own vehicles, we have to walk a long way by foot to reach to our homes”.
The residents further said they face a water shortage problem, “The field-staff of the department is supposed to remain in their respective areas and keep an eye on the water supply system, but we hardly see them doing it. They don’t even visit in this colony,” said Tariq Ahmad, another resident.
In 2007, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) announced that it would relocate the dwellers of the Dal Lake and rehabilitate them at Rakhiarth colony in Bemina on the Srinagar outskirts.
“LAWDA provided us marshy land for building houses and so it was not safe to build houses on this land. But they don’t provide us any other option. Due to land sinking problem, our houses have started developing cracks. We are always in the fear that the walls may collapse any time,” said Haji Ghulam Hussain Sofi .
The residents of this colony also complained that the area is prone to flooding whenever there is rainfall. “We face a flood-like situation the whole year,” they said.
The residents said that in the recent rains, followed by a flood threat, the whole colony was waterlogged for almost 10 days .They alleged that no one from the district administration or LAWDA came at that time to dewater the colony and provide them relief.
According to LAWDA officials, the colony is divided into three phases. The first two are spread over an area of 3,000 Kanals each, while the third phase occupies an area of 1,526 Kanals. The total number of residential plots in all the three phases are 10,600.Around 300 families have been relocated to the colony by the LAWDA till date.
Ghulam Rasool Want, a local resident, said they also face administrative problems.
Executive Engineer, Lake Division 1st, Raman Uppal told Kashmir Reader, “We are working on it and are waiting to receive reports. We can only say anything after that and according to that we will tell them what the solution is. For compensation, we will send a proposal to the government.”
When talking about the residents’ complaints, he replied, “We cannot receive proper funding”.