Flood fury fuels constructions in Dal greenbelt, City centre

20 shops, 2 houses demolished

While people in the summer capital are bemoaning damage to their property due to ravaging floods and authorities are busy assessing the quantum of damage, some unscrupulous persons are taking undue advantage of the situation by undertaking constructions in greenbelt areas of Dal lake.

  Officials said when major part of Srinagar was submerged due to floods, some persons started constructions in green belt areas of Nishat and Ishber. They said these unscrupulous persons had dumped construction material at the sites months ago.
“These persons took undue advantage of the situation arising due to floods and undertook constructions in green belt areas of the lake along Nishat. Our enforcement team demolished two huge under construction buildings meant for commercial purposes at Nishat locality” said Secretary of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) Syed Shabir.
“The general public is requested to approach the Authority for obtaining proper permission for constructions. At the same time people should desist from undertaking constructions in green belts,notified areas within 200 metres from fringe of the lake body” Shabir said. Enforcement officer LAWDA Sikandar Khan said “Our ground staff is keeping a watch to prevent fresh constructions in restricted areas of the lake.”
The High Court monitoring the Dal conservation has banned constructions  within 200 metres from the lake fringe. “Some influential people are using political clout to undertake the illegal constructions in green  belt areas of Nishat and its adjoining areas. Despite pressure from several poltical circles we carried on demolitions, “ said  a senior official wishing anonymity.
Pertinently, Dal conservation project and mechanism to prevent illegal constructions was severely hit after flood waters of river Jhelum for the first time entered  Dal lake on September 7 severely affecting its eco system.
Meanwhile some illegal constructions are coming up elsewhere including the City center allegedly in league with some Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) officials and police.
Scores of shops and other concrete structures are coming up near Regal Chowk while work on huge commercial complex is on in Humhama area of south City. Illegal constructions are equally taking place along some flood spill channels.
Near Regal Chowk some shops in tin sheds were being converted into concrete with scope for upper floors. But news agency PTI reported that authorities demolished at least 20 illegal shops today, which were constructed in  the area.
“We demolished all the shops which had come up illegally in Regal Lane on Residency Road in the early hours today,” an official of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) said.
He said though the corporation was busy clearing up the garbage and mess brought in by floods, it will not allow the unscrupulous elements to take advantage of the situation.
The shopkeepers, who were resorting to illegal constructions, briefly blocked the Residency Road by throwing broken glass panes on it.
“However, they were chased away by the police contingent posted in the area,” the official said.

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