Encroachment of canal leads to floods in Baramulla; Admn unmoved

Canal rendered into a Nullah due to encroachments in Baramulla. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
Canal rendered into a Nullah due to encroachments in Baramulla. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Irfan Tramboo
BARAMULLA, June 24: Nullah Zooeg Kohul in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district which used to be an 80 feet canal has been reduced to a 5 feet sewage drain owing to encroachments over the years.
Locals alleged that the district administration has been turning a blind eye towards the canal that has now become a victim of the official apathy, with no efforts being taken to remove the encroachments.
“The canal used to be 80 feet, now if you will see; it has been rendered to 4 feet, carrying the entire sewage of the area and wreaking havoc into the ecology of the area, ” a local said.
He added that those living around the canal have resorted to encroachment from both the sides and the administration is a mute spectator.
Another local explained that the stream has never been cleaned and alleged that the encroachers had been encouraged by the local administration. “The stream has never been cleaned despite being in the main Baramulla Town. The silt and waste accumulated in the stream has blocked it. Flood water cannot drain properly and it leads to water logging,” he said.
The situation takes an ugly turn whenever there are cloudburst in the upper reaches of the area, which results in a large amount of water flowing into the canal. After encroachments the canal has lost carrying capacity and it wreaks havoc for those living in the locality.
“Owing to the topography of the region, that is prone to cloud bursts and flash floods, the canal was an important natural drainage which would carry storm water from the mountains and its catchment area,” locals said.
Apart from not looking into the issues of encroachment around the canal, the locals are also alleging that the administration has been ruining the ecological balance in the area due to the discharging all the sewage into the stream. “The entire sewage has been diverted into the stream which has affected the flora and fauna,” they said.
While locals said that they have approached the concerned numerous times, the Municipal Committee Baramulla, however, said that they are not aware of the condition and the encroachments around the stream in the Ushkara area of Baramulla district.
Chairman, Municipal Committee Baramulla Umar Kakroo told Excelsior the MC was not aware of the encroachments around the canal and that he will look into the matter soon. “I am not aware of it, but I will look into the matter as soon as possible; we will surely do the needful,” he said.