UT of Jammu & Kashmir has many lakes, rivers and glaciers. Significant rivers that flow through Jammu & Kashmir from the Himalayan ranges are Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi. Jhelum originates from a deep spring at Vering. The river meanders northwestward from the northern slope of the Pir Panjal range through the valley of Kashmir to Wular Lake at Watlab. The length of the Jhelum River up to LC is approx. 165 kms. Which is mostly polluted having threats to its biodiversity and environmental stability. Along its 165 kms of journey the river enriches huge swathes of agricultural land and sustains a long procession of towns and cities. This fertile region is also home to some of the poorest sections of the society. The population is ever growing with inadequately planned urbanization and industrialization which has affected the development of the society overall. Today the Jhelum’s waters are polluted by the outpouring of sewage, as well as by the large volumes of solid and industrial waste that are churned out by human and economic activity along the river’s banks. Thus the banks of Jhelum need to be developed and to save it from getting further deteriorated.River front development project should be considered on a fast track basis.Development projects should focus on pollution reduction interventions including interception, diversion and the treatment of waste water that flows through open drains. The government projects and schemes should aim to conserve and regenerate the aquatic biodiversity of Jhelum River. River promenade shall be built to serve pedestrian and cyclist and to also serve as a recreational spot for the locals. Facilities provided at river promenade shall include access points from city level via staircase and ramps at regular interval, Boating stations at lower promenade to enable recreational boating in the river as well as a water based mode of public transport in future. Design of River front Park should meet the needs of a diverse range of people. River front garden and plaza shall be constructed at regular interval considering the layout of the city. River front development of Jhelum would add almost thousand sq mats of parks, promenades, plaza, cultural trade and social institution resulting in elimination of flood hazard, creating vibrant urban neighborhood as well as beautification of the city. Such promenades can be used as a point of tourist attraction in the future which shall also help in maintaining a continuous green coverage along the river corridor. Points to consider while designing a river front are access and linkage, edge uses, attraction and destinations, amenities, water uses, flexibility in design, land use management and diverse funding sources. Also, new technology such as bioremediation, apt in situ treatment, sewage treatment plants and effluent treatment plants should be used for boosting the existing STP’s. Instant short term steps to curb pollution at exit points on the river front in order to check the inflow of the sewage should be incorporated.Preventing entry of toxic and industrial chemical waste to the river is important. The problem of illegal and rampant construction which is happening near river bed has become a major hurdle in river front development. A systematic effort to improve our cities in UT of J&K has been long overdue.  The government should transform the banks of Jhelum by improving urban infrastructure and urban governance to make the overall cities ecologically sustainable, economically productive and socially equitable. It is equally important that residents should proactively participate in the river front development programs to improve the quality of life. It is an initiative to be taken by both common people and government to use our most precious resource judiciously and smartly to save it for our future generation.

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