Landgrabbers encroach over 400 kanals of wetland in Kashmir, eviction notices serve no purpose


Wetlands comprising over 400 kanals have been encroached by land grabbers in Kashmir Valley. Despite sending scores of eviction notices, and registering police cases, the Wetlands Division of Wildlife Department Kashmir has miserably failed to retrieve the encroached land.

The official data as per the news agency Kashmir News Trust presents a dismal picture with regard to the conservation of wetlands in Kashmir Valley.

There are 8 wetlands under the administrative control of Wetlands Central Division Srinagar. They are Hokersar, Hygam, Shalbugh, Mirgund, Chatlum, Fashkoori, Kranchoo and Manibugh.

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Some of the famous wetlands across Kashmir Valley are Hokersar (Srinagar/Budgam), Hygam (Baramulla), Shallbugh (Ganderbal/Srinagar), Mirgund (Baramulla- Budgam), Manibugh,

Kranchoo, Chatlum, Freshkoori all located in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district and Malgam (Bandipora).

The official data reveals that in Hokarsar 225.10 kanals of wetland have been encroached by land grabbers so far. The data further shows that the Wetlands Division of Kashmir has served 134 eviction notices and registered 2 FIRs against the encroachers.

Notably, the Hokersar wetland has been declared a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, 2005.

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A renowned environmentalist Ahmed Ayaz said that it is a really sorry state of affairs that authorities have even failed to prevent the encroachment of wetlands in Kashmir Valley.

Wetlands Division of Wildlife Department in Kashmir had proposed an integrated plan two years back to check unauthorized construction, encroachment, and land conversion in Kashmir water bodies, but so far not much success has been achieved in this regard.

In Hygam wetland that falls in Baramulla, land grabbers have grabbed 91.10 kanals so far. Wetlands Division of Kashmir has served 93 eviction notices with little success. Even 13 police cases stand registered against the encroachers in the different police stations of Baramulla district.

Similarly, in Shallbugh, encroachers have encroached 167.8 kanals. Here also the Wetlands Division of Kashmir has served 63 eviction notices.

Meanwhile, the official data reveals that no encroachment has been recorded at Dachigam National Park so far, which is of course a good sign of administrative control.

For the unversed, wetlands play an important role in the hydrographic system of Kashmir and these wetlands also accommodate thousands of migratory birds that visit everywhere year. [KNT]

Neyaz Elahi

Neyaz Elahi, who switched from Electronic to Print Media is a Kashmir based Accredited Journalist who has written extensively on Kashmir for local, national and international web portals. He is currently associated with Srinagar based News Agency Kashmir News Trust (KNT).

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