Stop eviction, rehabilitate Jhelum dwellers: Bukhari

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Aug 13: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president, Syed Mohd Altaf Bukhari today said the unplanned eviction drive launched by the administration against River Jhelum dwellers in Kashmir is contrary to law and the Government should ensure a proper rehabilitation plan for the families likely to be displaced during the process.
In a statement issued here, Bukhari said the administration has blindly served notices to the families residing alongside the bank of River Jhelum from Seerbagh-Sempora downstream of Pampore upto Takenwari-Panzinara near Shadipora Sumbal before conducting a detailed survey including identification of alternate sites for their proper rehabilitation.
“This type of forced eviction of Jhelum dwellers would be against law and totally unacceptable to the affected families especially those living within the municipal limits of Srinagar city who are completely landless. The administration must immediately stop harassing these poor and hapless families and draw a proper rehabilitation plan in consultation with all the stakeholders,” he demanded
Bukhari said the right to housing is guaranteed under law and any hasty and unlawful action by the administration shall leave thousands of families including old and ailing besides the children and women, homeless.
“While freeing the banks of River Jhelum from any unwanted structures is paramount in view of the flood threats but at the same time you cannot expose thousands of poor families to the vagaries of weather without having a blueprint for their suitable rehabilitation.  The Government must identify a land pool where the displaced families can be provided with shelter and other basic amenities before they are evicted from their present locations,” Bukhari remarked.
The JKAP president expressed remorse on the Government inaction vis-à-vis rehabilitation of families who were earlier evacuated from the banks of Jhelum and are still seeking rehabilitation. “Even there are some families whose houses were dismantled by the authorities in 2012 and they are still being pushed from pillar to post by the administration for the promised rehabilitation. These families were asked to evacuate as they would be allotted land for construction of their houses within a few days. But till date they are suffering on account of those fake assurances,” he opined.
Bukhari observed that most of the families who are living on the banks of River Jhelum work as labourers to earn their livelihood. They can not afford to buy house. The Government must chalk out an eviction plan accordingly, he pleaded.