Concerned over frequent traffic jams owing to increase in the number of vehicles hitting the roads everyday in Jammu and Kashmir, the divisional authority has decided to introduce water transport in river Jehlum.
Water transport was used before independence between Kashmir and other side of Line of Control (LoC).
To make it possible, the state government has imported a sophisticated dredging machine to clear the silt and sand in the river, which had turned into a nullah because of encroachment and other reasons, reducing its depth.
The river had turned into a dustbin as entire waste, including polythene, was dumped in water.
However, the beautification of the river bund had started during the regime of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Recently, the administration had started cleaning and dredging in the river from Pantha Chowk to Chattabal in the downtown on a war-footing to make sure the water transport is introduced as per schedule on Baisakhi day.
Officials said that water taxi will ply from Pathan Chowk to Chattabal which will be extended from Anantnag to Baramulla later.
Kashmir divisional commissioner Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon said that this will lessen the pressure on road traffic.
Officials said that chief engineer of irrigation and flood control Ahmad Muzaffar Lanker apprised Dr Samoon that his department intended to engage private sector and entrepreneurs to ply water taxis with capacity of 18 passengers in the proposed stretch after fulfilling requisite conditions in line with J&K Water Resource and Management Act, 2010.