Shah Kul Row: Govt Says Report Malicious, Locals Say It Is a Campaign To Malign Shopian


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As per the official statement, government dismissed the contents of a report carried by a Jammu based newspaper regarding the construction of prestigious Shah Kul in Shopian district. The spokesman has termed the report as malicious, defamatory and concocted published with the malafide intention of maligning the image of the department and minister concerned.

While as on another side a number of Sarpanches and prominent citizens of Shopian villages who are form the catchment of Shah Kul have also decried newspaper for allegedly carrying false news about Shah Kul. As per a signed statement, “It is a campaign to malign Shopian and deprive us of livelihood.”

The statement further reads, the Sarpanches of these 41 villages said Shah Kul was a dream for our fore fathers and its revival has rekindled prospects of good economy for the region. They said revival of Shah Kul was so impossible that at one time it was compared to the Azadi of Kashmir.

The signatories to the statement said with the revival of Shah Kul the area got noticed on tourist map and we started rethinking on horticulture as a viable economic option. They said the project was so important to the area that they volunteered to do Hal Shiree in its distribution network.

The statement said they fail to understand when some project which benefited them was near completion how a malicious campaign was launched against it. It smacks of a conspiracy against our villages, they said.

Giving details, the government spokesman said, Shah Kul is a historic irrigation project of Kashmir, conceived and constructed by late Budshah, hence the name Shah Kul. It used to irrigate 41 villages and the area came to be known as the apple bowl of Kashmir. In 1902, the spokesman added, the irrigation canal became dysfunctional due to a
severe cloudburst.

As per a statement during the last three years, the main canal has been restored and due to non availability of private land, people volunteered to make distribution system on the alignment fixed by Irrigation & Flood Control Department through an arrangement called Hal Shiree to avoid any disputes. This year, the spokesman said, water has been released partially, benefiting the villagers, who, during a visit of the Minister concerned to the area, came in thousands to
thank him for reviving what Budshah and Maharaja had built for them.

Once completed, the canal would is expected to change the economic condition of the people of 41 villages who were looking for Nature only for irrigating their fields and whose produce had now diminished to minimal levels.

The spokesman said accord of Forest clearance is a continuous process for government works. The forest department has already granted clearance in respect of some portions and in case of others work is in progress. Also, the project is not a new one but the modernization of a 110 year old canal.  The alignment of the canal was recorded in the GT sheets prepared in 1902 and there has been no change in it since then, the spokesman said.
Terming the allegation that the canal was constructed to benefit the orchard of the minister as beyond any  comprehension and imagination, the spokesman said it is a glaring fact that the said orchard is situated 50 feet above the canal and it has its own water harvesting tank constructed some 20 years ago. “Water always moves downwards and not upwards, as it seems from the allegation”, the spokesman remarked.



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