Srinagar, Dec 30 (UNI) Alarmed over deteriorating condition of river Jhelum because of polluted water and encroachment on its banks, the Jammu and Kashmir government has prepared an ambitious project to restore the pristine glory of the river.
Also called Vitasta, originating from Verinag in south Kashmir and going to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) before passing through historic Lal Chowk and other towns, the Kashmiri Hindus consider it as an incarnation of the Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
An official spokesman said in the first phase, Rs 25 crore are being spent to develop and beautify the embankments from Sonawar to Lal Ded hospital.
So far Rs 9 crore have been utilised so far for the purpose, he said.
He said 450 encroachments have been removed from the banks of the river Jhelum so far while out of 59 houseboats to be shifted under High Court directions, nine have already been shifted.
To keep the Jhelum neat and clean, it was decided to install dustbins on its either side.
Official sources said polluted water of hundreds of drains from Anantnag to Uri are directly going into the river while people have constructed lavatories and bathroom on its banks. At some places people are dumping garbage, particularly polythene bags in the river.
The concerned departments were directed to speed up the work on the Jhelum so that the tourists and locals come to visit the green lots being developed along the banks.
He said a park is also coming up at a cost of Rs 1.50 crores at zero bridge.
A large number of Kashmiri pandits celebrated the birth of river Jhelum on September 26 this year after about 20 years.
The celebration which dates back to epic times, was discontinued after militancy broke out in the Kashmir Valley in 1989.