LAWDA promises big but fails to perform

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Srinagar: Despite the orders of the High Court that no construction should be carried out up to 200 metres in the vicinity of Dal Lake, hundreds of illegal guest houses, commercial buildings and residential apartments have come up in Nishat and its adjoining areas.

Many illegal constructions in Ishber, Deewan Colony, Hamzah Hills, Banigam, Chandpora, Arabal, Brein, Pahloo and other areas have come up in a mere span of two years. Locals allege that authorities have minted crores in the name of preserving the famous Dal Lake yet none of that money has actually been used for that purpose. Many new buildings are being constructed around the already polluted lake which makes one wonder about the dedication LAWDA. Even though big promises have been made by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority to stop the illegal constructions in areas like Saidakadal and Ashaibagh, the same has failed to be applied in areas of Nishat and Brein where huge establishments are mushrooming around the famous Dal Lake, thus shrinking it even further.

The High Court in October 2015 asked LAWDA to furnish a detailed report on the conservation of Dal and Nigeen Lakes under National Conservation Plan. The report submitted before the honourable court by LAWDA raised apprehensions about the sanctioned project cost under NCP for Dal and Nigeen Lakes, which was to be completed by March 2010. The authorities have received a sum of two hundred fifty eight crores until last year. For the year 2014-2015 as well as for the current year, it has not received any funding. By the end of 2010,Rs 159.44 crores were provided with a further release of 99 crores during next three yearstill March 2014. The report says that against these releases, major works like Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs), Intermediate Pumping Stations, Sewerage network, Slit control and opening of the channels have been completed.

LAWDA officials are beating their chests on the deterioration of Dal Lake but least attention is paid towards Anchar Lake which is connected to the Dal through Nallah Amir Channel. The lake has almost vanished due to huge settlements encroaching the peripheral and outer boundary of the lake.

Dr. SarmadHafeez, VC LAWDA on being asked why no action was being taken over the growing number of illegal constructions around Dal Lake said, “We are monitoring every single area around Dal Lake. Whatever constructions have taken place in the sensitive area, they have been in the past. As per the new directions of Honourable High Court, one cannot even construct a temporary shelter within 200metres of the Lake and there are clear directions to demolish any kind of illegal structure which is being raised.”

When asked about the new constructions being carried out in Pahloo and Brein areas, Mr. Sarmad said,“If there is any such activity being carried out, we are going to deal strictly with the defaulters. As far asAnchar Lake conservation is concerned, the lake is under the jurisdiction of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.”

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