ncidents of land encroachments have massively increased over the last three decades in Srinagar with people taking particular fancy to outskirts of the city like Baghat, Bemina, Danduusa, Jawahar Nagar, Lal Bazar and Rajbagh. Right before our eyes, people without any regard to public welfare and laws are changing the landscape of the city and shrinking our roads, pastures and waterways. What havoc we have made of our rivers, streams and lakes September 14 deluge taught us bitter way. Today nearly one third we have lost the fascinating Dal lake. Same holds true for Wular lake. River Jhelum we have choked. Sprawling paddy fields were overnight converted into residential colonies. On wetlands, land filling was done in no time and sooner we had the entire hydraulic system of Kashmir blocked permanently by these unplanned colonies.
Much water flowed down the Jhelum since land settlement done by the Walter Lawrence in 1885 when Dogra Mahaja Ranbir Singh ruled Kashmir. Even though there is not much left of Kahcharai, huge increase in milk production and live stock has been witnessed in all these decades. And it surged with passage of time. In the present time, right under the eyes of the establishment massive encroachments are going on in University road, and other areas. People are encroaching upon grazing lands, wetlands, public roads etc, in short anything that they can lay their hands on. We must lay out priorities. That means the critical eco-fragile zones, where encroachments have been made, should not at any cost be tolerated. Be it water bodies, nallahs, forests, highways or public roads.
Even though administration has given clear instructions to carry out thorough inspections of these areas but right under the nose of the inspecting officials encroachments are going on. Under the garb of the current situation people are making hay while the sun is shining. The encroachments by their very nature are unplanned and thus destroy the landscaping quotient and create imbalance in the hydraulic system of the valley.The administration must act quickly and decisively against these encroachments. We cannot allow a bunch of greedy people to take over the city while we watch helplessly as mute spectators. The time for action against these culprits must be started as soon as possible. We can not afford to let these encroachers have a field day.