District Srinagar administration has chalked out a comprehensive modernization plan for Jhelum river involving time-bound execution of developmental works and setting up of facilities aimed at restoring the grandeur of the historic river.
The plan involves refurbishment and modernization of houseboats in the river and setting up of facilities along the banks thereof which will not just enhance the financial opportunities for the owners of houseboats but also facilitate stakeholdership in the upkeep of the river.
Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary who was speaking in a meeting here said the refurbishment of houseboats in Jhelum is a part of the larger plan aimed at restoring the grandeur of the historic river.
He said the plan involves modernization of houseboats which are in good condition adding that the houseboats dilapidated will be dismantled and removed and their owners compensated with plots of land.
The DC said the larger modernization plan involves beautification and establishment of various kinds of facilities along the banks of Jhelum river adding the facilities to be set up therein include libraries, kiosks, parks and aesthetic infrastructure.
The houseboat owners will be the first amongst the beneficiaries of these facilities. Self help groups of these owners will run the business kiosks to be set up along the banks.
Dr Shahid said the idea is to make the people direct stakeholders in the development and upkeep of the historic river while providing livelihood opportunities to the houseboat owners.
The latter will also be trained and equipped under SDRF and will be the first line of defense at the time of eventualities.
The DC has also directed for ending all mining activities in the river to prevent damages to its embankments. He has said only that mining will be allowed in the river which is totally scientific.
The plan also includes flood protection works on the left bank of the river which will be taken up soon.