Human Voice

Choked with garbage, once famous streams of Sgr gasping for breath

Chount Koul, Sonar Koul, Gagribal have lost its glory: Locals

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Nobody owning tributaries, Govt must fix responsibility: Expert

There was a time when people especially children used to bath in the tributaries in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, but now the situation has changed as the tributaries here are almost on extinction and the garbage mostly polythene could be seen piled up on the embankments as well as in the water.

The locals said at the once gushing three tributaries including Chount Koul, Sonar Koul and Gagribal said that the tributaries have lost its glory as the successive government failed to give it proper attention.

Abdul Majeed, a local resident at Aabi Karpora area near Gagribal tributary said that the though government is taking steps to clean stream, only at the front side.

“The backside of the tributary where we live has not been cleaned from the past several decades. It is we (locals), who clean it almost every week,” he said.

He added that during the tenure of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, it was told that the people living in this particular area will be shifted to other places to take requisite measures to preserve the tributary.

“The poles regarding the measure were erected in the locality during that period. However, since then no step has been taken,” Majeed said.

Majeed also said that such is the height that the locality has no drainage, thus resulting in further deterioration of Gagribal tributary.

At Sonar Koul, locals said that after the floods hit Kashmir in 2014, the government started dredging process in this tributary, but it has not been cleaned for a long now.

“There was a time when people especially children used to bath and women folk used to wash clothes or utensils at the tributary. However, the charm and glory are no longer visible. It won’t be an exaggeration to say than the tributary is dead. It has reduced to a useless place, which is being used for throwing garbage,” Manzoor Ahmad, a local resident said.

At Chount Koul, one can imagine the similar situation of Achan, a garbage dumping site and this tributary. “It is a well-known fact that the government never paid heed to preserve these tributaries, but at the same time, the local populace are also responsible for the current mess as we as a local should have taken care of it, but we used these tributaries as garbage dumping place,” Ghulam Muhammad, an elderly said.

He said in his childhood, people used to drink the water of the tributary, now it is not only filthy but poisonous too. He added that the government needs to take special care of these tributaries to preserve it for the generations to come.

Environmental Expert M RD Kundangar told KNO that it is unfortunate that the major departments including Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) and Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) don’t own the tributaries.

“The government at the topmost priority must fix responsibility in this regard,” he said.”Once the responsibility is fixed, the department concerned would take apt steps accordingly to keep the tributaries alive.”

Kundangar said that the Chount Koul, which is basically the exit channel of Dal Lake and river Jhelum, was also being used for water transportation while Sonar Koul was a tributary of river Jhelum.

He said that both the government apathy, as well as the negligence of people, is responsible for the current mess of these tributaries, adding that the government must speed up the rehabilitation process.

“In Gagribal, there used to be a residential area in the ancient time as well. But, the rehabilitation process is must also to preserve the tributaries,” he said.