Mass movement to save Dal Lake in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Sep 7: Concerned over deteriorating condition of the world famous Dal Lake, Jammu Kashmir Governor N N Vohra called for launching a mass movement along side governmental measures for conserving this glorious heritage of Kashmir.

Besides calling for round-the-year manual cleaning operation in the water body, he asked the concerned officials to expedite the procurement of deweeding machines, costing Rs 30 crores, for augmenting the cleaning operations. He directed that all unauthorised structures along the periphery of the Lake should be immediately removed. During his extensive round of the lake, along with senior officers this morning, the Governor reviewed the pace of the Dal Conservation Project.

The Lake Conservation Project is being supported by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests with a financial outlay of about Rs 300 crores.

The project envisages, inter-alia, sewerage treatment, hydraulic and restoration works, development and management of the catchments areas, institutional strengthening and infrastructure development.

The deweeding, desiltation and pollution control in the lake forms important ingredient of the project under the National Lakes Conservation Programme. So far, Rs 118 crores has been spent on the project.

Mr Vohra was informed that three Sewage Treatment Plants had been established at Hazratbal, Habbak and Laam in addition to the construction of the settling basins for stopping silt at the catchments areas.

The drudging operations and the shore line catchments area development were also progressing.

Taken up in 2005, the Dal Development and Conservation Project is slated to be completed by 2010.

Governor observed that the large scale civil society involvement and a sustained campaign for enhancing awareness were imperative for saving the lake from extinction.

He stressed the need for taking social measures for conserving all the water bodies in a big way and observed that the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), students, environmentalists and the people belonging to different shades of life could useful role in this regard. ''The Dal Lake has to be saved at all costs, or else this glorious inheritance from the ancestors would become a memory for the coming generations'', he maintained.

The Governor also visited the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Laam and was briefed about the process, technology and operations of the existing plants.

He directed that the proposed STPs at Nallah Amir Khan and Brari Nambal be installed immediately so as to protect the lake from further inflow of household sewerage from the peripheral areas of the Lake.

Later, Mr Vohra visited Rakh-e-Arth in the Budgam district and reviewed the progress of the development of 7500 kanals of land acquired for the resettlement of the Dal dwellers.

The rehabilitation of these people is being funded by the Centre and adequate funds have been made available for the purpose.

Mr Vohra emphasised the need for a time bound proper re-location and rehabilitation of the Dal dwellers.

He suggested engagement of a reputed consultancy for advising on the development of a model colony, having modern facilities, like proper drainage system, electricity, drinking water, schools, health care centres and shopping arcades.

While planning these colonies, maintenance of the natural contours and flows must be ensured, he stressed.

The Governor was informed that another 1000 kanals of land have been acquired at Chandpora in Harwan for resettlement of the Dal dwellers.

UNI

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