Dehradun: The rampant encroachment on Himalayan rivers in Uttarakhand that shot up soon after the formation of the state has been a headache for the government. After a long hiatus, the state government woke up on the issue and Chief Minister BC Khanduri led Cabinet finally approved a Bill to check the illegal activity.

The Cabinet has approved a bill to acquire control on the habitual river encroachment prevailing in the state. The Cabinet note says, the monsoon season in the state is of few months but in the remaining time interval, people encroach the river bed which reduces the water logging area of rainwater during the next monsoon season.

When the river water rises during the rainfall, the encroachers complain of floods and demand compensation. While they demand security from floods on one hand, they demand compensation for being homeless on the other.

Surprisingly, according to the cabinet note, there is no existence of any Act to prevent any construction work on river beds. But on the contrary, there is a municipal body in cities while Forest Act in forest area to check illegal construction on river beds.

The purpose of the bill is to prevent damage caused by floods and to control encroachment on river beds to maintain the original river area.

The Ganga Flood Control Commission approaches the Centre for providing help to control the damage by the rivers flowing in the Ganga catchment area. If the present cabinet note is approved in the assembly, the state will receive help from the Centre for flood control at priority.

Moreover, the state government will be able to bring any river under the act by the help of the District Magistrates.

The motive behind this move made by the state government is to get easy flood relief from the Centre. The bill is expected to be cleared by the next government in the state.    

JPN/Bureau