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Constitute `Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Authority’ in J&K: BJP
`Ban construction activity along rivers’
JAMMU, Jul 7: National co-convener of Kashmir Cell of BJP and senior leader of state unit Chander Mohan Sharma today demanded immediate ban on any sort of construction activity alongside the banks of rivers, streams and all water bodies in the state and stressed for a balanced approach on rivers and water bodies development.

While addressing a press conference here today, Sharma demanded early constitution of a Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority in J&K on the pattern of Uttarakhand to reconstruct and restore the past glory of the all rivers, streams and water bodies in the state well before any untoward happened to the people of the state.

“The government of Uttarakhand has taken a decision a few days back to form such authority after the recent devastation. The authority would ensure that the all new constructions beyond the stipulated free area should be done under strict plan and should long lasting to withstand the impact of earthquakes and other natural disasters,” he stated.

Sharma said that there was an urgent need to regulate the construction activity in the seismically fragile Himalayan region that included entire Jammu and Kashmir state, particularly hills and its slopes in Jammu province and also to regulate the unbridled construction, quarrying and deforestation. Referring to the plight of Jammu's life line river Tawi, he demanded removal of all encroachments, constructions, structures and dumping of mulbas within and beyond its bands.

Sharma appealed the people to be sensitive to any abuse to the rivers and its tributaries, lakes and its slopes, ponds, natural nallahs, forest strips and pasturing lands by the mafia and high ups in the government. He also appealed the government to come out with a systematic plan to restore the natural flows of the rivers, streams, rivulets and nallahs as it could prove a havoc in days to come.

Sharma said the extent of any future disaster could become horrifyingly clear so the state should act on the advice of the environmentalists and put a check on all illegal constructions, mining and a series of hydro projects on rivers, unbridled urbanization as these activities not only compounded the scale of destruction but also precipitated it.

He said the recent devastation in Uttarakhand should be taken as an eye-opener and the Ministry of Environment and Forests should immediately come out with a long-term policy on rivers and lakes zones so that construction on areas along the river banks and lakes could be halted. “While the tragedy could hit the state any time being the natural phenomena, it is imperative on our part not to be caught unawares,” he said.

“The state government has to make arrangements in place so that in the time of need the administration should pull up its socks and avail the services of the locals as well as its own personnel for disaster management in the state,” said Sharma.

He emphasized on striking a balance between ecology and development keeping the climate change scenario and natural calamities in mind. He said the main focus was to create a bonding between ecology, biodiversity and indigenous people's livelihood avenues with rivers, water bodies and mountain development which would prevent the impact of landslides and massive flooding of rivers.

The party assigned the duty of exposing Tawi land grabbing scam to Chander Mohan Sharma. Munish Sharma, Balbir Ram Rattan and Subhash Chander Gupta were also present in the press conference.

News Updated at : Monday, July 8, 2013
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