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Kashmir's River Jhelum depleting due to encroachment

Sriangar , Sun, 25 Nov 2012 ANI

Srinagar, Nov.25 (ANI): Authorities and residents of Srinagar have expressed concern over encroachments alongside the River Jhelum, claiming it to be one of the major roadblocks to a beautification project.

Talking to reporters on Sunday, Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Javed Jaffer, said encroachments alongside the river have been reduced from 131 to 58, and efforts are being made to reduce it further.

"There were about 131 houses near the river out of which 58 are still remaining. We have been successful in removing some colonies that are in close vicinity of the river, but we still have some work to do. Some people are also leaving the dwellings voluntarily. We do not face so much of a problem as such. The local administration is helping people to rehabilitate once they vacate through the help of municipality," said Jaffer.

With the motive to beautify the riverbanks, parks and walkways, the state government launched a project worth Rs.25 crores in the year 2005.

"The river used to be wider earlier and it used to be much beautiful as compared to today. As of today there is so much pollution and it looks like drain. There have been encroachments that have led to the current situation," said Ajaz Ahmad, a resident.

Historically, the river was the primary medium through which trade was conducted.

The Jhelum originates from Vernag in the Pir Panjal Range of the Kashmir Valley. It flows through Kashmir region and meanders through a long stretch of Jammu before finally joining the Indus River.

The state's picturesque locales and landscapes attract tourists from across the world. (ANI)

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