Mayor Srinagar, Junaid Azim Mattu on Monday held 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 and assured the residents 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 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.
“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 wont be allowed. 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 while interacting with the residents.
The Mayor also made it very clear that attempts to connect SMC with the ongoing land eviction and retrieval of State land drive were misleading and a larger deliberate ploy to spread misinformation and canards by a particular political party. “SMC is not involved in the ongoing drive in any way, shape or form – neither at the policy level nor at the execution level. A recent statement issued by a particular political party and its motley crew of corrupt former legislators 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”, the Mayor added.
“SMC’s enforcement jurisdiction and activities as mandated under a statutory duty under law constitute a routine process that is based on the Master Plan and its by-laws. Besides this normal, routine function that SMC performs in adherence to the law, not a single slum or structure will be demolished for any drive or any project by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. SMC will abide by the judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the matter and work towards proposing the provision of dignity and rights to all slum dwellers. Those trying to hide their own greed and decades of misrule and misappropriation of public resources behind this misinformation campaign should introspect and understand the human costs and consequences of their provocations and instigations over the past three decades. Their penchant to provoke and instigate the poor, common-man on the street has filled our graveyards in Srinagar with our youth while they have given their own children very contrasting lives. We need no lectures from the murderers and tormentors of the children of Srinagar”, the Mayor said while speaking after the meeting.
“Those out playing conscience keepers and sympathisers of economically impoverished urban slum dwellers in Srinagar should be asked why they failed to rehabilitate the slum dwellers in Srinagar since four decades – giving them a life of dignity and respect – despite being elected as legislators multiple times. These economically disadvantaged fellow citizens and residents of Srinagar are like my own family and I will not allow any harm to come upon them at any cost. In my humble capacity as the Mayor, I – along with fellow Corporators and officers —have ensured multiple steps were taken to improve their day to day lives and extended basic facilities to these areas after they were deprived of these basic rights for decades by the same shameless people pretending to be sympathisers today”, the Mayor further said.
The Mayor said he has passed strict directions to ensure that no scope is left for misinterpretation of steps being taken for public and community welfare, such as the Doodhganga Rejuvenation and Restoration Project.