Unplanned development of settlements has caused much problems for people. Though the government makes the plans, but it has not cared to see that there is proper drainage and flow of water during floods. Such projects have been undertaken that have caused damage to environment, though bureaucrats and land mafia may have benefited. This kind of planning has to stop.


“The haphazard and irregular coming up of settlements (habitations) can cause much problems for people. These habitations are not developed under any set plan, wherein neither basic civic facilities are available nor any scope for installing these. Moreover, no precaution is taken to keep in view natural disasters. As it is many habitations or colonies, have been developed around city of Srinagar, whose level was low and during flood situation water would, flow into these and settlements would be saved. A substantial section of people lack sense of responsibility and even on government level, such works are undertaken that causes environmental degradation. One such decision was taken by government, when it prepared a plan for filling about 800 kanals of land of Nakra Nambla between Srinagar and Badgam, for building Institute of Management. The work was assigned to Road and Building department that prepared a project report for filling the swamp or wet land, and estimated expenditure is more than 150 crore. Obviously, when such an important institution is installed, there will be new move to build new settlements around it, as has happened in the past. As has been the tradition, the opportunist bureaucrats and land mafia will thrive on it. Such government decisions can cause emergence of a negative atmosphere. It is welcome that High Court has stayed the operation for the time being, and asked for a report from government. The past governments took such decisions that restricted the areas for water to recede. Such a devastating scene was observed in 2014 floods in Srinagar. At the moment Narakar Nambal absorbs the extra water from Doodganga stream and saves the neighbouring habitations from flood. If it is filled up then dozens of settlements in the neighbourhood can be damaged. The government prepares development projects for the city, but these plans must keep in view the possible dangers. In these haphazard settlements, it is the vested interests that benefit, but the state faces damages. On one side, the base of economic self sufficiency i.e. agriculture land and water bodies, are made the targets of the haphazard and irregular development and on the other the norms of urban development are violated and such tendency is encouraged that can cause loss to people who have used their hard earned money in making the houses. Moreover, in the endevaour, there is less investment from the state, because most of material comes from outside and even labour is got from there. Though people are also to be blamed, but it is the government that makes plans. In the city of Srinagar, we have seen, how during few decades, many low level regions, which would absorb surplus water and save habitation from floods, have been changed into a jungle of concrete. Let the government wake up. We can’t undo that destruction caused so far. But serious efforts can be made to save habitations from flood that is the prime need”.

[ Courtesy, Urdu Daily Kashmir Uzma, Srinagar; November 15, 2017].

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