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Constructions shrink Narkara wetland by 81 hectare

Srinagar, Sep 10:  Unchecked contractions have reduced Narkara wetland, a prime water absorbing basin here Srinagar, by 81 hectares in the last four decades.

Situated on the outskirts of the city with an area of 261 hectares, the wetland, as per International Journal of Environment and Bioenergy, was 342 hectares in area in 1970.

 

Another separate study titled ‘Urban Sprawl of Srinagar City and its Impact on Wetlands’ by Research Associated at Kashmir University further elaborated the impact of “excessive urbanisation” on the wetland.

Researchers NissarKuchay and Mohammad Sultan Bhat in their research claim that 0.81 kilometers of the wetland has reduced in the last four decades.

Violating the wetland laws, sources claim the successive regimes have been instrumental in the decline of the wetland area.

While presently the state government has its multiple structures on the wetland, various other projects are on pipeline that would entirely affect the wetland’s conservation.

The state government is currently proposing to build an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) over 800 kanals of the Narkara wetland.

This has happened without getting an approval from the approval of Rakhs and Farms, and Irrigation and Flood Control department.

Source said that the project has been stalled due to the stay order from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

“The government seems to be adamant to build the IIM on the wetland. Despite stay order, no reaction has come from the government to identify any other place for the institute,” sources said.

As per the detailed project report prepared by the public works department (R&B), Kashmir, an amount of Rs 101 crore is required for filling earth into the marsh.

Similarly, the state government has issued almost 100 kanals of the land for the setting up of Transworld Muslim University on the wetland.

The land has been demarcated and fenced by the religious organisation to which the government issued this land in replacement of JAH’s 300 kanals of land in Tengpora.

“This land is even 200 kanal less to what they took from us . It was issued to us by government and besides many other government’s projects are coming up there,” said General Secertary JAH Abdul LateefAlkandi.

Sources said that many other projects of government were in pipeline to be established on the wetland.

They said that Narkara has been already identified by the Department of Higher Education for establishing infrastructure for various projects.

“The government recently visited there to look a 500 kanal of land for SabziMandi . Besides land for KrishiVigyan Kendra and other small projects has also beidenitifed,”sources said.

Environment Lawyer Nadeem Qadri said that Environment Policy Group has already taken up the issue with high court, which stayed construction on the wetland.

“We took up the issue of IIM but then the court considered it as a whole and stay any sort of construction over the wetland,” he said.