Authorities have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) around the water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir`s Bhaderwah belt to curb rising pollution, officials said on Sunday.
The picturesque Bhaderwah valley, often referred to as `mini-Kashmir`, is grappling with escalating pollution in the absence of an efficient sewerage system. The impact on the once crystal-clear water bodies, including the Neel Ganga river, has prompted local authorities to intervene.
Acknowledging the severity of the issue, Doda deputy commissioner has issued orders to book offenders under Section 144, the officials said. Section 144 of CrPC prohibits assembly of four or more people in an area.
“Now we are left with no other option but to initiate strict action against the offenders by imposing Section 144 of the CrPc to book those who are flouting the laws and polluting water bodies,” Bhaderwah Additional Deputy Commissioner Dilmir Choudhary said.
Highlighting the urgency of preserving Bhaderwah`s precious water bodies, Choudhary said, “We tried to convince, educate, and motivate people not to pollute water bodies, but unfortunately, no visible change has been witnessed in their attitude.”
The valley, known for its breathtaking landscapes and numerous water bodies, is witnessing a disturbing transformation with streams such as Puneja Nallah, Halian, Haloon, Hanga, and the sacred Neel Ganga River succumbing to unabated dumping of town waste, including non-biodegradable materials and human excrement, the officials said.
Locals, religious bodies, and environmentalists have expressed serious concerns, emphasising the pollution`s detrimental effects on these vital water resources.
“The pollution in water bodies has a severe effect on the lives of aquatic animals and disrupts aquatic ecosystems,” warned Tariq Pervaiz Shaphri, a social worker and environmentalist from Bhaderwah.
Religious structures, including the historic Gupta Ganga temple and Markazi Jamia Masjid, located along the banks of the Neel Ganga River, are now overshadowed by the overpowering stench of what has turned into contaminated water bodies, Shaphri said.
Concerned citizens and activists have been urging immediate corrective measures, emphasising the need for strict actions against the offenders.
“The repeated outbreak of mysterious illnesses and waterborne diseases in Bhaderwah valley and its neighbouring areas is a wake-up call on the increasing pollution levels in Neeru river and other water bodies in this belt,” said Rashid Choudhary, a Bhaderwah-based social activist.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad state secretary Satish Kotwal expressed frustration over the alleged indifference of the authorities to the issue, stating, “We have time and again requested the administration to do the needful, but till now no concrete measures have been initiated to save the sanctity of the sacred Neel Ganga river.”
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