Despite spending Rs 850 Cr, Dal continues to be dull

Srinagar, Dec 21: Jammu and Kashmir government has spent over Rs 850 crore on restoration of Dal Lake without any visible change of improvement in the famed water body.

This has also been corroborated by reports framed by various expert committees.

Dal Lake is famous across the world and most of the tourists visit Srinagar to see the famed water body. The government had started several projects designed to infuse fresh life into Dal Lake. These projects had cost Rs 850 crores to the government since 2002. 

A major project ‘National Lake Conservation Programme’ was started in 2005 that cost government Rs 300 crore. The second conservation and management programme ‘Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme’ (PMRP) of 2010 cost government Rs 350 crore.  The third project was for the rehabilitation of the families dislocated from Dal and Nigeen Lake.  However, there is no visible change on the ground.

According to recent report of Pollution Control Board, the water quality has deteriorated because of untreated sewage into Dal Lake.

“The lake is facing main issues like untreated sewage and waste by people live in and around the lake,” the report says.

The PCB has submitted a report to government which showed presence of high levels of lead, arsenic, copper, and cadmium affecting the aquatic life of the lake.

A study conducted by Dr Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, who teaches at Kashmir University, reveals that 32% of the lake falls under severe degradation and 48% under medium degradation while as 20% of the lake waters are relatively clean.

“It faces multiple pressures from the unplanned urbanization, high population growth, nutrient load from intensive agriculture and tourism,” it reads.

Earlier, the High Court had also said that crores of rupees have been spent on Dal but 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.

Director, Pollution Control Board, Rafi Ahmad said they have been continuously monitoring the water quality of the lake. “PCB has also submitted recommendations to the government about reasons of pollution,” he said. 

Bashir Ahmad Wani, a resident of Dal Lake, still remembers the time when lake water used to be pure enough to be consumed by people for drinking.

“At that time, no filtration or treatment was being done by the government to keep it clean. The lake has deteriorated due to urbanization and encroachment,” he said.

Vice Chairman, Lakes and Water ways Development Authority (LAWDA), GM Dar said government was making all efforts for restoration of Dal Lake. “There may not be much change but government is now taking serious efforts for its restoration,” Dar said.

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