Srinagar, Mar 4: Hundreds of people, mostly members of the Houseboat Owners Association (HOA), today took to streets demanding immediate measures for conservation of water bodies, including Dal and Nigeen lakes and river Jehlum in the Kashmir valley.
Holding banners which read--'Dal do not needs engineers but experts to serve', 'stop corruption to save Dal', 'handover Dal conservation to any foreign company'. They started procession from Nehru Park on the bank of water body to draw the attention of the common people and government towards the deteriorating condition of water bodies.
They alleged that Dal Lake has so far proved gold mine for the engineers and other officials of the Lakes and Waterway Development Authority (LAWDA). The HOA demanded that demolition drive should be launched only after the affected people here rehabilitated.
The association urged everybody, including judges, lawyers, businessmen, government employees, common people and students to contribute in the efforts to save the lake before it is too late. It is a historical fact that houseboats and the conservation of Dal, Nigeen, Chunti Kul and River Jehlum have a strong correlation and is, therefore, indispensable, a spokesman of the HOA said adding, all houseboat owners are prepared to fully cooperate with the conservation plan.
However, he demanded demarcation of territorial limits of both the lakes and ban on use of polythene near the water bodies.
He further said the conservation of all water bodies should be handed over to some private firm or to a foreign agency or agencies who have the requisite expertise and technology for accomplishing the job. Our demand of identification and demarcation of the territorial limits of the two water bodies in Srinagar-- Dal and Nigeen lake-- was in consonance with the direction issued by the Jammu and Kashmir High court.
The demonstrators were concerned over the use of polythene despite a ban near the water bodies.
We suggest that a mobile judge be deputed who would monitor the complaints of these orders by law enforcing agencies of the state.
It also demanded immediate cessation of dredging along the western foreshore road of Dal Lake by LAWDA as this had plugged many natural springs found on the lake bed.
Similarly, filling of land with so excavated mud and slush in the area under dredging by the authority be stopped forthwith. The spokesman of the HOA demanded installation of drainage systems with septic tanks which wound cater to all the houseboats, plug all live drainage pipes around the peripheries of our water bodies which were dumping harmful effluents round the clock.
The HOA also demanded that all four water treatment plants, now in operation at Kral Sangri, Habak, Hazrataal and Brari Nambal, be put to test and verification by foreign experts to assess the purification level of the treated water going into Dal.