Srinagar, Oct 1 (UNI) Concerned over the shrinking water bodies and wetlands due to anthropogenic pressure and variety of other reasons, the Jammu and Kashmir government has initiated a number of measures under National Lakes and Wetland conservation programme for their preservation.
Official sources said an amount of Rs 177.68 crore were received by the state government from the Centre under the Centrally sponsored schemes to restore the pristine glory of the world famous Dal Lake since 1997 to 2007. Out of which Rs 164.06 crore were incurred so far, they added.
They said the Lakes and Waterway Development Authority (LAWDA) was constituted in 1997 with the mandate for conservation and management of Dal and Nigeen lakes for which a detailed project report involving Rs 298.76 crore has been approved by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) in September 2005.
The LAWDA and forest department have already axed more than three lakh trees and demolished hundreds of illegal constructions in the Dal Lake during the past two years following directions by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The court has also directed the LAWDA to prepare a list of buildings constructed within the green belt area around the Lake.
However, despite court orders illegal construction was still going on in some parts of the Lake, including in the Nigeen lake.
The other water bodies are being looked after by the forest department, they said.
The state government has also prepared a comprehensive Management Action plan for the conservation o Wular Lake, largest sweat water lake in Asia, at a cost of Rs 386.01 crores.
The plan will be presented to MOEF for financial assistance, sources said adding the project is covered under the Prime Minister's reconstruction package.
An amount of Rs 45 lakh was received and spend on Wullar lake in the year 2003-04.
Management action plan of Hokersar wetland with project cost of Rs 15.31 crore was submitted to MOEF against which Rs 31 lakh have been received by the forest department in June this year. By July end the forest department could spend Rs five lakh, they said.
The sources said a project proposal of Rs 6.91 crores for Surinsar Mansar wetlands in Jammu region was also prepared and submitted to MOEF under the PM's reconstruction plan. However, the santion was still awaited, the sources said.
However, an amount of Rs 17.07 lakh which was unspent balance for Surinsar-Mansar against the release of Rs 55.79 lakh in 2002-2003 has recently been revalidated by the MOEF.
The state government has also prepared and submitted a number of proposal for Mirgund conservation reserve Rs 1.20 crore, Hygam wetland Rs 1.60 crore and Salabugh conservation reserve Rs 1.70 crore.