Remove encroachments along rivers

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FLOODING as a result of monsoon rains has almost become an annual occurrence. However, it is really unfortunate that little has been done over the years to effectively cope with the situation and result is that today the country is faced with an unprecedented tragedy which has inflicted loss of hundreds of billions of rupees to the infrastructure besides taking a heavy toll on human lives.

During a visit to Swat on Tuesday, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said that legal action should be taken against officials who allowed construction on the river bank in Swat.

His remarks came after the whole nation saw for itself as to how the raging flood waters swept away hotels constructed inside the riverbed.

One fully agrees with the assertion of the Army Chief and we will suggest that action also needs to be taken against the mafia which constructed these structures to mint more money given the fact that hotels at such sites attract more tourists.

We are not against the construction of hotels or resorts at the picturesque places but these should be built at the identified places.

Responsibility rests with the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to look into the matter and ensure that no such construction takes places in future along the Swat River.

In other parts of the country also, these illegal encroachments along nullahs and rivers are one of the main causes of severe flooding.

For instance, houses in Rawalpindi have been constructed along the Nullah Leh. When the water does not get proper place for its flow, it becomes more dangerous.

Former Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid had envisaged a Nullah Leh Expressway project but regrettably despite the passage of almost one a half decade, it could not be implemented but there has been politicking only.

We will suggest the present government to execute this project whilst rising above political considerations as it will help control flash flooding during heavy rains in the city.

The same kind of projects need to be executed in other major cities after removing the encroachments but whilst doing so it must be ensured that the affected families are relocated under a well- thought out programme.

 

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