Floods largely damage riverbank structures

Most buildings along banks of rivers built in violation of River Protection Act

Zulfiqar Ali September 02, 2022


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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