Save Dal Lake: Govt kicks off process to geo-tag houseboats, hotels

Srinagar, Feb 20:  Jammu and Kashmir government has kicked off the process of geo-tagging the houseboats and other structures in Dal Lake in a last ditch effort to save the water body from further perforation.

On the directions of High Court, the Tourism Department in collaboration with Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote sensing initiated the process of geo-tagging houseboats and various structures within 200 meter peripheries of the lake in 2019.

According to the official data of the Tourism Department J&K, more than 900 structures including houseboats, hotels and guesthouses have been geo-tagged so far.

A senior official of the Tourism Department described the geographical tagging (also known as Geo-Tagging) a process of adding geographical identification data to any fixed object.

“This data consists of latitude and longitude coordinates. The coordinates could then be used to identify the geo-tagged item and monitor them through satellites. Mapping of structures is aimed to regulate the houseboat industry, gauge their carrying capacity, and impact of sewage disposal from various structures on Dal waters”, he said.

For the last two decades, the lake has been turning grubby as sewage of thousands of houses, houseboats, hotels and shops pours into the precious water body.

Dr Humayun Rashid, Senior Scientist at Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing, said 10 employees from the Tourism department have been trained to record GPS coordinates.

“The GPS trackers will be used to track the location of the houseboats. It will be also help in monitoring the vessels and various structures,” Dr Rashid said.

Director, Toursim, Nisar Ahmad Wani said the process of geo-tagging will help them in maintaining an authentic data base.

“It will help in proper monitoring and conservation of Dal Lake. Further, the tourists will also benefit from it because they will know the location of the houseboats with the aid of GPS tracking system,” Wani said.

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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