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Despite spending crores on it, Dal more ailing than ever

Kashmiri men in boats manually collect weeds from the polluted waters of Dal Lake, covered by aquatic plants in Srinagar September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

Srinagar, May 15: Despite the government having spent more than Rs 10 crore for dredging, cleaning, deweeding, Dal Lake, the departments concerned have failed to restore pristine glory of the lake.
Official sources told Kashmir News Service that above Rs 10 crore have been spent on cleaning, dredging and deweeding of Dal from 2015. Despite that the condition of the famed Dal Lake has deteriorated over the years.
Giving details sources said that an amount of Rs 4.06 crore was spent on cleaning, dredging and deweeding of Dal during 2015-16 year. Rs 3.54 crore was utilized in 2016-17 and Rs 2.77 was utilized during 2017-18.”
Sources said that the government of India has also released Rs 273.85 crore for conservation of Dal and Nigeen Lake under NLCP. “Out of total package of Rs 356.30 crore, Rs 83.18 crores have been released under PMDP as well,” sources maintained.
However sources told KNS that the condition of the Dal lake day in and day out is deteriorating. “A new lake could have been created by the money spent on the lake over the years,” an official said. “There seems no accountability whether there has been any improvement in the lake despite spending crores,”
Sources said that it has been seen that Lakes and Water Development Authority is only carrying out de-weeding around the SKICC as the centre has a distinction of hosting important functions both government as well as private. “Government has also failed to complete the rehabilitation process within a time frame work and all these projects have missed the deadlines,” sources said.
“Spending such a huge amount and no visible change in the condition of the Dal raises serious questions on the working of officials,” said Habiullah, a resident of Shalimar.
It is to mention here that a major project ‘National Lake Conservation Programme’ was started in 2005 costing Rs 298.76 crore. Under the ‘Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme’ (PMRP) costing Rs 356 crore, over Rs 100 crores have been released so far. It was for acquisition of land and structures in Dal and Nigeen lake.
The third project was for the rehabilitation of the families dislocated from Dal and Nigeen lakes. The project at a cost of Rs 416 crore for development of site at Rakh-I-Arth for preparation of site and provision for infrastructure like road, water supply, electricity, drainage, and sewerage and other community facilities and providing house units to the dwellers under State plan and Central assistance 315.90 crore and 90.92 crore respectively.
“Almost all the funds released over the years have been spent on Dal Lake but there is no positive change. The LAWDA alone can’t take steps for preservation of the Dal Lake. It is the responsibility of each individual and there should be close coordination of all government departments for preservation of the Lake and funds are utilized properly,” a senior official said wishing not to be named.
On the directions of the High Court, government has lately framed a monitoring committee headed by Chief Secretary for assessing works on the preservation of the Dal Lake.
The government had framed three centre and state sponsored major projects designed to lease fresh life to the Dal Lake. “Instead the condition of the famed water body should have been improved; it has degraded despite spending huge amount of money since inception of these schemes due to mismanagement of the authorities,” sources maintained.
The Dal Lake is famous across the world and most of the tourists visit Srinagar to see the famed lake. The Lake is divided into four basins Small Dal, Big Dal, Gagribal and Nigeen besides small and big Dal have each an island in the center known as Rup or Charchinari. (KNS)