Land ‘Sharks’ Busy Eating Wullar Lake

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‘Team constituted to dismantle illegal structures’

BANDIPORE:  With the State Government limiting its focus on Dal Lake, land mafia with the tacit approval of relevant bodies, continue encroaching upon numerous water bodies, filling them during night hours and selling the same in day time. 

The worst hit are Wular and Anchar lakes.

On Tuesday reports from Bandipore said of large scale encroachment along the Wular banks.

Despite repeated directions from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on removal of encroachments along the water body, concerned authorities have so far failed to restore the pristine glory of Wullar Lake which is Asia’s largest fresh water body.

Right from Ningli Sopore the illegal encroachments have come up in connivance with employees of Fisheries Department and the irony is that the occupants after occupying a patch of water body sell it to another party for fishing purposes.

According to locals it is a big mafia which not only involves fishermen but also a major group of Fisheries Department. “The mafia after erecting a temporary structure along the banks of Wullar lake, gradually creep into the water bodies and occupy a vast patch by erecting logs with sign boards, thus prohibiting others from fishing in that patch of illegally occupied water body. Gradually, the mafia sells this patch to another party for fishing purposes and a due share is given to the employees of the Fisheries Department,” the locals said.

“It is ironical that authorities are numb despite knowing the fact and no efforts are made to dismantle these illegal structures or put a stop to illegal trade practice,” said a respectable citizen of Bandipora district who added that despite bringing the issue into the notice of Director Fisheries Department, no action has been initiated against the active mafia.

Wullar according to experts has been extensively encroached upon and polluted, with the government acting as mute spectator to its vandalism. Illegal constructions dot the meandering banks of the Lake in many areas. Wullar has shrunk extensively and its carrying capacity has decreased.

 Admitting that a mafia was active in the area and illegal structures have come up along the Wullar Lake, Director Fisheries Rajesh Dogra said that after receiving such complaints, he has constituted a team and the drive has been started to dismantle these illegal structures and put an end to illegal trade practice. “The area is very vast it will take some time to clear the banks from the illegal structures,” Dogra said. 

The authorities’ rather lackadaisical attitude towards this particular issue and broader environmental issues is alarming. Gradually but inexorably, our water bodies and the ecosystem that is dependent on them is withering away. This will have implications beyond the present and our future generations will pay the price. Omission by authorities regarding this serious matter emboldens other unscrupulous players to the do the same and affects our environment and eco and bio-systems. It is them imperative that strict and immediate action that thwarts the designs and actions of the land shark mafia is taken.

 

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