The recent floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa largely damaged concrete structures along river banks in the Hazara division.
Sources said that most of these multi-storey concrete structures had been con-structed in violation of the River Protection Act, which bars construction within a radius of 200 feet on both sides of the riverbank.
Official sources said that like in other parts of the province, most of the buildings built along the riverbank in Hazara division including in Kalam, Balakot and other tourist spots were hotels and guest houses rather than residential houses.
The sources said that the recent floods in Swat River and Kunhar River washed away buildings located near the riverbank because of poor planning. This not only affected the business community but also the people residing in these buildings, who lost their lives while dozens of vehicles were also washed away.
Locals lost their assets and the tourists who visited these picnic spots for sightseeing and recreation lost their cars and other expensive vehicles to the floods.Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) Director-General Muhammad Tariq could not be approached to seek his version on constructions along Kunhar River and what steps were being taken to stop such constructions in the future.
The sources said that from now onwards, the government should come up with a strict plan to stop construction along riverbanks to prevent damage by floods in the future.
On the other hand, KDA Assistant Director Planning Asad Shehzad told The Express Tribune that the KDA was only a building control authority in Kaghan Valley and the assistant commissioner concerned was the competent officer for the enforcement of the River Protection Act.
He said that the K-P Irrigation Department is also responsible for the implementation of the act He said that if the Balakot assistant commissioner or the K-P Irrigation Department prepare a strategy for implementing the River Protection Act, “we will take steps to ensure its implementation.
On the other hand, sources in Peshawar said that KP-P Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has taken up the matter of strict implementation of the River Protection Act to stop construction on the banks of rivers and the results will be seen in the next few days.
Meanwhile, the Mansehra district administration has imposed a ban on construction within a radius of 200 feet from the banks of rivers by enforcing Section 144, after the flood.
The district administration has also ordered an inquiry against those who have violated the River Protection Act and KDA rules and sought a report within 60 days.
Two months ago. the Mansehra district administration had imposed Section 144 banning all sorts of constructions at 200 feet radius on the bank of Kunhar River, however, private individuals blatantly violated the River Protection Act and KDA rules and several
structures popped up along the banks of the river.
The district administration has again imposed Section 144 against illegal constructions on the banks of the river.
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