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Crores down the drain over cleaning of Dal Lake since 2005

Srinagar, Dec 28:As Srinagar’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor have been caught in a war of words over cleaning the famous Dal Lake, hundreds of crores spent over the years seem to have gone down the drain without any accountability.

On 23 December, Deputy Mayor Sheikh Mohammad Imran tweeted that he had begun a 21-day cleaning drive of the lake along with members of the public, the municipal corporation, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority and the army.

Responding to a news report on the drive to clean Dal Lake Mayor SMC Junaid Mattu said, “SMC has not entered into any collaborative operation with the Army for any cleaning, de-weeding operations in Dal.”

As far as the funds spent on the lake over the years are concerned, it seems there has been huge wastage of money.

Even government is now considering framing of a fresh detailed project report in consultation with experts for the conservation of the Lake.

New DPR is being considered as there has hardly been any improvement in the lake despite authorities spending hundreds of crores over the years, an official of Housing and Urban Development Department said.

The official added that Pollution Control Board has also written to the government that a fresh DPR shall be framed for preservation of Dal Lake.

“There are three major projects for which new DPR may be framed in consultation with the experts. The government is considering framing a comprehensive DPR so that its implementationachieves desired results,” the official said.

For the last 16 years, Rs 759 crores have been spent on conservation of Dal Lake.

Of it, Rs 400.96 crores have been allocated by the Central government, while Rs 359.93 crores have been spent so far.

Similarly, the Rs 300 crore package for the conservation of the lake, allocated under PM’s Developmental Package (PMDP) in 2015, has met the same fate.

Of these Rs 300 crore, Rs 50 crore were meant for cleaning the lake and the remaining Rs 250 crore for rehabilitation of people living inside Dal.

Recently, the High Court said that crores of rupees have been spent on Dal and no “fruitful results” have come out.

“Therefore, immediate measures are necessary before the situation is rendered hopeless. It is therefore, necessary to have an expert committee with most importantly the vision and the experience of having undertaken issues which involve wide spectrum, multi-dimensional assessment, evaluation and resolution,” the court observed.