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news details
How LAWDA adds to Dal lake's miseries
Crores go down the drain
8/18/2017 10:27:06 PM
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Aug 18: While the government may be blaming people for the deteriorating condition of the Dal lake, the reality is that the authorities too are responsible for the lake's plight.
Several experts who spoke to Early Times revealed how the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) officials were responsible for the worsening condition of the lake, even as government I spending crores of rupees for its preservation.
The Dal lake, according to various surveys, has shrunk from 31 to 24 square kms in the past several decades.
"The area of the lake has considerably shrunk, mainly, due to the encroachments on the periphery, in the form of hotels and guest houses. It is also because of the construction of Western Foreshore in particular. The now long abandoned project has in fact, proved disastrous for the fragile ecology of the lake as it chocked the flow of water from bad and stagnant water pockets of western part of the lake," sources in the LAWDA said.
They said that dredging of the lake has been confined mainly along the eastern rim whereas other areas have been ignored for unknown reasons.
Another official said that encroachments in the lake by rich and influential persons continue unchecked under the patronage and covert approval of LAWDA officials.
The official said that most of the STPs (Sewage Treatment Plants) set up at different locations along the lake's periphery are not operating up to their standard as discharge from these plants lacks prescribed specification.
The official said that discharge from the STPs need to be regulated and flow of raw sewage from various drains and pumping stations should be checked.
Experts said that de-weeding of Dal is being carried out by mechanized weed harvesters at a depth of not more than a meter from surface.
"The level of the water is deliberately being maintained higher than the routine level so that the lake should look clean and free from useless biomass like algae and weeds."
This method, sources said, has proved ineffective to check or prolong the growth of weeds.
"The authorities placed lock system on Nallah Ameer Khan at Bota Kadal in 1984, thus replacing the former needle system introduced by the British. The new system has proved a failure as it halts the normal flow of twin lakes of Dal and Nageen and the waters around Pokhribal area," sources said.
Abdul Aziz, 45, a resident of Dal Lake, also blames the government over deteriorating condition of the lake. "If some people do anything wrong that does not mean that law enforcing agencies will watch as mute spectators. The reality is government officials and the politicians are main culprits behind polluting the lake," he said.
He said that authorities clean a portion of Dal Lake around the SKICC. "This is the place frequently visited by VIPs and being kept de-weeded to mislead the visitors," he said. "The LAWDA is only carrying out de-weeding around the SKICC as the centre hosts important functions both government as well as private. When one goes into the interiors of the lake, you will find how the lake has long ago turned into a swamp," he added.
Governor N N Vohra recently visited the interiors of the lake after which he reprimanded the officials over its deteriorating condition.
"More than half of the water surface of the lake is no longer visible to the visitors because of the rapidly growing weeds. The ongoing de-weeding process is proceeding almost at a negligible pace," Vohra had said.
Over the years, the government said, hundreds of crores of rupees have been utilised for "preservation" of the lake but showing no improvement in its condition.
The government has spent over Rs 500 crores on three conservation and management projects on Dal lake since 2005.
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