Environment experts who visited the river Jhelum in Srinagar on Sunday expressed serious concern over its deteriorating condition, terming the dredging of the river ‘a futile exercise’.
The experts are members of the Peoples Environment Council, a non-governmental organisation with an aim to protect the environment including water bodies.
Hydrologist, Er Ajaz Rasool,who was part of the team, said the dredging of the river was a futile exercise.“It is not going to increase the carrying capacity…There is sewage inflow from both the sides of the river, from houses and residential areas. At many places the river is sinking,” he said.
The experts pitched for the river’s timely preservation. “It has been polluted to the extent that one has to cover the nose to pass the river. It is very miserable,” Aijaz said.
“The river is carrying poisonous water. It has become a sewage drain. This is something which is being neglected very badly,” he said.“Fish came to the upper surface because of the lack of oxygen.”
The experts noticed that at various places the government departments were involved in dumping of garbage and other waste material into the water body.
“River Jhelum is the lifeline of the valley. The recent fish killing was just a trigger. We went to see the major attributes which are contributing factors to the deterioration across the river Jhelum,” Convener of Peoples Environment Council,Sakib Qadri, told Rising Kashmir.
He said the river is sinking at Chuntkul area of Srinagar. “It has turned into a sewer. A number of drains are directly going in the water body. A lot of garbage is found in the river which was painful to see.”
The council members took samples of the water which would be sent for testing. They said they would come up with a report about the same with pictures.“The report will be made public and will be also submitted to the government,” Qadri said.
They also said that the government was taking people for granted.“Water bodies are God-given assets. The 2014 floods happened because the river Jhelum was abused a lot. It has reacted despite that nothing has been done,” they said.
Chairman Peoples’ Environment Council G H Kango, its Vice Chairman Dr Khursheed Salman, Prof A R Yousuf, Prof. Shakeel Ramsoo, Er. Ajaz Rasool, Dr Adnan Abubakr, Sameer Ahsan, Lateef Alamgeer, Dr Rajas Muzaffar Bhat, Alisha Qadri, Dr Mushtaq Khan, Manzoor Wangnoo & Manzoor A Tarray were among the experts who toured the river