Dal Lake will die in four years: JK Minister
Srinagar, June 21: Expressing concern over the deteriorating condition of the world famous Dal Lake, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir said if immediate measures are not taken now, the lake will "die" within next four to five years.
It will be very difficult to walk in the Dal Lake area if common people and authorities do not join hands to save the most attractive place in the summer capital, he said.
''We have allowed construction of hotels and other buildings without considering its impact on the Lake, which has shrunk to almost half what it was several decades ago,'' he said.
According to official records, the Dal Lake was 75 square km in 1200 AD to 25 sq. km in 1980s. It is now just 12 square km and its depth has dropped to 2.4 meters.
Because of human greed, the Dal Lake, a symbol of beauty of Kashmir, has become sick and if we will not act now, it will be too late after few years, ''he said, adding that in next four to five years one would find it difficult to walk at the bank of the Lake because of the foul smell.
It is equally the duty of the houseboat owners to join the government and people to give a new life to Lake as they too earn their livelihood from it, he said.
Mr Mir said the authorities have taken a number of steps to save the Lake. But, it alone cannot be held responsible for the present condition of the Lake as people in general and those living in and around it too.....
He said lakhs of trees on illegally occupied land were axed in the Lake during the past one year.
Similarly, thousands of unauthorised huts and other structures were also raised to ground the authorities to clean the lake from any encroachment, he said.
Mr Mir said illegal constructions in the Chuntkul near the Lake have also been removed and operation will continue till the last structure is raised to ground.
He said government is committed to protect other water bodies and forests in the Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister said even though the Jammu and Kashmir state has no five star hotel and other infrastructure, but tourists still come here from within the country and abroad to see the God gifted natural beauty, which included forests, streams, water bodies as well as the handicrafts.
But, he said, the beauty of the Kashmir was in decline because of deforestation, our water bodies get polluted and streams are vanishing.
Mr Mir said because of global warming, people in Kashmir also were affected. Our glaciers and snow on high peaks are melting early with the result we face irrigation and water problem.
He said it is the duty of everyone to save our forests and water bodies, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court has also directed the Lake and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to take measures to save the Dal Lake.
The LAWDA has also been directed to remove all buildings and hotels, constructed within the green belt around the Lake last year.
However, no action was taken so far.
Hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent to save the Lake during the past three decades.