It’s a living hell, but we have no option, say residents
SRINAGAR: About 19 families affected by the 2014 floods and moved by the authorities to different locations over the past five years are still hopeful of lasting rehabilitation, even after the government dumped them here in the waterlogged Summerbug area of Lasjan.
People who were living in temporary accommodations near Haj House Bemina were moved to Parimpora Mandi after the 2014 floods. They had to shift to new spaces in Bemina to make room for a maternity hospital. Their subsequent stay at Parimpora was hit after the government relocated the main Srinagar city bus terminal from Batamaloo to Parimpora.
Now the residents say that the government has asked them to move immediately to Summerbug area till their proper rehabilitation is undertaken.
“Till 2014, we were living in Bemina area near Haj House, but we lost everything during the devasting flood in 2014. After that, the government provided us with huts in New Maternity Hospital Bemina, where we lived for at least seven months. After that, the government authority shifted us to Parimpora Mandi, from where we were shifted again after the main bus terminal was set up there,” said Fatima Jan, one of the Summerbug rehabilitation camp residents.
“In 2017, the government ordered us to vacate the Mandi and shifted us here, saying that they would rehabilitate us in permanent places within a few months. But till this date, nothing has been done.The authorities don’t even visit here, we are suffering with each passing day, we don’t have any facilities here,” Fatima further said.
The move to Summerbug was disastrous for the residents who have had to brave frequent floods and waterlogging here, besides diseases that affect mostly children.
Boatman Mohammad Malla said that half the boatman population had vacated their government-made houses in the last three years. The owners of the abandoned buildings either live in rented accommodations or at their relatives’ places in different parts of Srinagar. “The bad odour and the algae-covered water have made our lives a living hell. I too would have left the place, but my income is not enough to sustain my family. I don’t want to be a burden on someone else either,” Malla said.
Last year, water-borne diseases, including cholera, emerged as a major challenge in this colony. “The epidemic left many people of this colony hospitalised, including children. Most of the patients were below the age of 25,” Malla further said
The residents of the colony also complained that the area is prone to flooding. “Whenever there is rainfall, we face a flood-like situation for the whole year,” a resident said. Others also narrated how the whole colony had become water logged in the recent rains that were followed by a flood threat. They alleged that no one from the district administration or any concerned department had come to dewater the colony and provide them relief, either at that time or later. “Our colony is still waterlogged,” they said.
“The government provides us sheds in marshy land which is not safe for living and they don’t provide us any other option. We are always in the fear that our sheds may collapse anytime,” said a group of residents.
In 2017, the district administration shifted people to the area, promising them all the required facilities besides permanent settlements.
Ghulam Hassan Sheikh, a committee member, says representatives of the displaced have been knocking at the doors of various government offices, including that of the local legislator, to solve their problems. “No one bothers to pay attention to our woes. We met many times with the higher ups in the district administration, every time they said your case is in the pipeline, but from the last three years, nothing has been done. They are just passing the buck,” he further said.
An official of district administration told Kashmir Reader that they would look into the matter.