Amid protests by locals, Mayor Srinagar, Junaid Azim Mattu on Tuesday said that not a single house will be demolished for Doodhganga restoration.
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In a statement cited by news agency GNS, Mattu said that he had a detailed meeting with the residents and community elders of various localities and colonies on the stretch of Aloochi Bagh to Chattabal Doodhganda Rejuvenation and Restoration Project on Monday and that he assured them that “no colonies will be displaced, nor any houses demolished including the downtrodden colonies and slum settlements on this stretch.” The meeting was also attended by Commissioner SMC and CEO Srinagar Smart City, Athar Aamir Khan, SE City Drainage in addition to senior officials and engineers.
“The Mayor assured the local residents that the Doodhganga Canal Restoration and Rejuvenation Project was a vital flood mitigation project that would first and foremost benefit the residents and colonies in Aloochi Bagh, Haft Chinar, Batamaloo and Chattabal,” the statement reads, adding, “The Mayor, while condemning traditional mischief mongers and agent provocateurs who were provoking the people and spreading misinformation, assured the residents that not a single residential colony, including slum structures, would be disturbed or affected by this project.
He said the ‘Public Notice’ that has been issued concerns encumbrances, obstacles and physical encroachments within and on top of the canal and does not pertain to residential colonies, houses or structures. “Not a single house will be demolished by this project. It is my assurance to the residents that this won’t be allowed,” he said, adding, “Contrary to what is being wrongly peddled by vested interests, this restoration project will resolve the longstanding issue of localised urban flooding and water-logging in these areas — benefiting the locals of these areas.”
The Mayor said that attempts to connect SMC with the ongoing land eviction and retrieval of State land drive were “misleading”. “SMC is not involved in the ongoing drive in any way, shape or form – neither at the policy level nor at the execution level,” he said, adding, “A recent statement issued by a particular political party is a shameful attempt to derive political dividends by misleading the downtrodden sections of the society.” The administration’s ongoing drive does not involve the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and as the Mayor of Srinagar, “I have formally urged the administration to put in place a humane and sympathetic policy of regularisation, especially for the poor and downtrodden sections of our society – keeping in view the fragile and sensitive economy of J&K.”