Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police have embarked on a new mission to restore the pristine glory of the world-famous Dal Lake.
State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA) launched a massive cleanliness-cum-skimming drive to rid the lake of the toxic weeds.
Around 100 SDRF men along with 10 boats were deployed to clean the lake. On the first day, nearly a 2.5 square kilometer area was covered under the drive.
During the next one month, cops along with experts from LWDA will de-weed the earmarked area and carry out the skimming of the water body.
“As a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mohatsav, SDRF Kashmir launched cleanliness drive/skimming of Dal Lake covering 2.5 square kilometer area. The campaign was launched in collaboration with LAWDA Srinagar. The drive shall continue for a month,” said Haseeb-ur-Rehman, Commandant, SDRF, first battalion, Srinagar.
Director-General of Police and head of SDRF VK Singh visited the site to supervise the cleanliness operation. “The officers from LWDA were also present. Men and machinery have been deployed by LAWDA for de-weeding. DGP has assured full support and cooperation to LWDA officials for cleaning Dal Lake,” he said.
In 2018, the army too had launched a special drive to save the lake. This followed the then state administration’s request to extend a helping hand in this mission. The Army responded positively and undertook the pilot project. A joint task force of the Army and LWDA launched the drive.
Spread over an area of 25 sqkm, the lake comprises floating gardens, built-up landmasses with human settlements, and houseboats. Divided into three basins — Hazratbal, Bod-Dal, and Nigeen, the lake is the source of drinking water for a large chunk of the population.
Increasing habitation, lack of waste management, massive sewerage flow, and increasing human pressure are silently killing the world-famous lake.
According to the 2020 report of the J&K Pollution Control Board, Srinagar city generates 201 million liters of sewage daily. However, only 53.8 million liters can be treated from the existing resources. “73 percent of the 201 million liters of sewage generated in the city goes into Dal Lake or Jhelum,” the report said.
Jammu and Kashmir government had launched the ‘Save Dal Project’ to conserve the lake Over Rs 759 crore has been spent by different governments to save the Dal Lake since 2002. However, the health of the water body continues to deteriorate.