Kanlibagh Nallah shrinks due to malfunction, corruption

Encroachment on Kanlibagh Nallah in Baramulla district.
Encroachment on Kanlibagh Nallah in Baramulla district.

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 1: The Kanlibag Nallah in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district has been encroached over the years with officials permitting encroachers to build commercial and residential structures against fake revenue records.
The extent of violation in the Baramulla town at Mohalla Jadeed is massive wherein huge commercial establishments have further shrunk the canal and one particular structure ‘Hotel Dawat’ has been entirely constructed on the canal thereby blocking the rain water flow and putting the whole neighbourhood vulnerable to inundation.
Officials at Baramulla Municipal Committee admitted that the canal has been a victim of misconduct and bureaucratic malfunction and said that corruption within various departments has encouraged the encroachers and put the canal at the verge of extinction as over the years the canal has shrunk from 20 feet to mere 7 feet.
Mehraj Ahmad Malik, a local, while narrating his helplessness, said he has been running from pillar to post from past ten years to save this canal but has failed to do so.”I have not spared a single office. I went to each and every one including Flood Control Department, Baramulla Municipal Corporation and Revenue Department etc. No one is ready to listen, everyone is corrupt here and since I could not offer them money I was shown the door,” he said, adding “we live on the banks of this canal and if gets blocked excess water from the mountains will wash away our houses.”
A reply of an RTI application filed by a local against a particular encroacher reveals that the permissions to build illegal structures on the canal were granted against the fake revenue extracts. “The encroacher has misled the department while showing the revenue extracts which when got verified from the Revenue Department were of his own land and not of the encouraged one,” the official reply to the RTI reads.
Executive Officer, Baramulla Municipal Committee, Ghulam Rasool Shah while admitting that encroachment has taken place said he has taken the charge ten days back and is unaware about complete details. “But being the resident of the area I am witness to shrinking of this nallah. I will immediately ask my team to survey the spot and mark the trouble makers,” he said.
He also said he will ask Revenue Department for the original record of the canal and as soon as he gets the details he will ask his enforcement wing to take action against the people involved.
As per locals, Kanlibag Nallah was once a twenty feet fresh water canal which would receive water from the upper reaches of Gulmarg and Baba Reshi but alleged corrupt officials have reduced it to mere six feet drain.
The locals said that the canal has been encroached upon at the place it flows through. The canal flows through areas like Noorbagh, Bawli, Sangri Colony, Sayri Bale and finally ends at river Jhelum. The locals further said the canal is being converted into cesspool wherein all the sewage and waste is being dumped into canal thereby putting the whole population vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

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