‘Unplanned urbanization’ destroys rivers, streams

Just two decades back a person would be amazed by the beauty of the streams flowing by the roadside while travelling from Srinagar to Tangmarg. Now one can only feel nostalgic about those streams.

AQUIB BHAT
Tangmarg, Publish Date: Mar 14 2018 12:43AM | Updated Date: Mar 14 2018 12:43AM
‘Unplanned urbanization’ destroys rivers, streamsFile Photo

Rapid and unplanned urbanisation has come at the cost of nature in Kashmir. Conversion of paddy lands for raising residential and commercial structures coupled with road widening has meant that the streams and rivulets, which once flowed from Tangmarg to Narbal have all but vanished.

“We used to catch fish from streams flowing by the road side; it used to be a beautiful experience. Today it is just a reverie,” says Fayaz Ahmad Rather of Waripora Dobiwaan.

Just two decades back a person would be amazed by the beauty of the streams flowing by the roadside while travelling from Srinagar to Tangmarg. Now one can only feel nostalgic about those streams.

While government is regularly making plans to enhance the scenic beauty of Kashmir, yet many of its own projects are taking a heavy toll on nature. Widening of roads for streams flowing by their side without proper planning, turning paddy lands into commercial plots devoured the natural water bodies.

At Tangmarg concrete base and side walls for stream flowing by the roadside is preventing it from vanishing yet it has changed the natural look.

Recently a mini-power project built on NallaFerozpora at Tangmarg has almost made the river go waterless. It also left lower regions from Kunzar to Narbal waterless. While the project provides electricity to two to three villages, hundreds of villagers suffer for want of drinking water.

However, DC BaramullaNisarNakash asserted: “The power project made on FerozporaNallal at Drung supplies electricity to Tangmarg-Gulmarg area. It has not halted the flow of river. It is all because of less rain and snowfall the river has very less flow compared to previous seasons.”

“We preserved the tributaries and streams when the road widening took place. We have destroyed nearly 200 illegal structures and we have also cut down nearly 2lakh trees that were illegally planted and were disturbing the flow of streams. There are still more than 200 structures and 2 lakh illegal structures which need to be taken care of,” Nakash added.

When one comes down from Kunzar area, things get worse. The streams of Feozpora nallah which used to rush by the roadside are almost gone.

The dried pathways of many streams can be found. Streams which are there are either shrunk or heavily polluted by non bio- degradable wastes.

Locals as well as tourists used to stop by to spend their leisure time on their banks.

“People used to stop near the stream that used to flow by the road side. Little kids used to enjoy the flowing cold water,” said Mudasir, a resident of Manglora.

“The mini power project constructed on Ferozpora nallah at Drung, Tangmarg has almost made the river extinct. The recent road widening had no proper plan, it either shrunk the streams or failed to keep the stream flowing.” Mudasir added.

Just 15 years back a stream ‘Fohar’ used to flow through Magam. It stemmed from a spring in Magam. It was 10-15 meters in width at some places. Now commercial structures and the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway have completely chocked it. It seems ‘Fohar’ never existed.

The streams and tributaries of river ‘Sukhnag’ flowing along the road from Kanihama to Narbal also seems to have lost their charm. Conversion of paddy lands into commercial plots have done the damage, blocking the flow of streams at many places.

Repeated calls to deputy commissioner Budgam in this regard went unanswered.

 

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