The residents of Brane, Nishat, Shalimar, Harwan and other adjoining areas of Foreshore road whose houses were damaged in the September 2014 deluge, Friday protested against Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) for creating hindrances in the reconstruction of their houses.
The residents said that their houses were completely damaged in 2014 floods. Many houses have developed severe cracks and thus have become unsafe for living. The residents allege that the LAWDA authorities are not allowing them to reconstruct their houses.
“More than a year has passed and we still are not able to shift to our own houses,” said Hajira, a local resident. “The procedure of taking permission for repairing and reconstruction is so long that it takes not less than six months to complete the formalities.”
Although the High Court has banned new construction falling within the 200 metre around Dal, locals of Astanpora, which is nearly three Kms away from Dal said that even they are not even allowed to repair their houses or damaged roofs.
Some locals, who have been allowed to repair their houses, claimed that they are not allowed to carry the necessary material for reconstruction. “We suffer because of this pathetic approach of the department,” they said. “We have protested many a times and appealed the concerned authorities to look into the matter however no action followed.”
Talking to Kashmir Life, VC LAWDA Sarmad Hafeez said the LAWDA can’t let anybody make construction in a non- permissible area. “The houses of the majority of the residents fall within the no-construction zone,” Hafeez said, “therefore we cannot allow them to repair or reconstruct their houses.”
He said that his department grants permission within 15 days but only if the documents are complete. “Any construction that had illegally cropped up before floods won’t be allowed to be reconstructed again,” he said.
(Saima Bashir is and intern with Kashmir Life.)