Hand over all water bodies to foreign company: Houseboat owners

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Srinagar, Feb 19 (UNI) Hundreds of houseboat owners today took to the streets demanding that all the water bodies in the Kashmir Valley should be handed over to any foreign company for their conservation.

Marching through different streets from famous Nehru Park in the Dal Lake to civil lines here, the houseboat owners of Dal, Nigeen, Chinar Bagh and river Jehlum alleged that Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) had failed to restore the pristine glory of the water bodies, particularly Dal Lake.

''Hand over the water bodies to any foreign company before it is too late,'' they demanded.

The LAWDA had completely failed to deliver what was expected from it, they said, adding it was responsible for the degradation of the Dal and Nigeen lakes since it took over the control of the water bodies.

They also rejected the Socio-Economic Survey conducted by the Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) in 1986, identifying a number of residential or other structures existing in the Dal basin.

''The survey conducted has now become irrelevant as the demographic index with regards to the family units and the size of population of Dal dwellers has gone up since,'' they said.

Demanding immediate stop of dismantling houses and other structures in the Lake by LAWDA and other agencies, they said the entire population living there should first be shifted and rehabilitated elsewhere.

More than 3.5 lakh trees and hundreds of illegal houses and other structures were razed to ground by the authorities in the Dal Lake and Chinar Bagh during the past one year.

UNI BAS HS VC1520

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