Div Com Orders Conservation Of Khushalsar, Gilsar Lakes, Forgets Implementation

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Srinagar:  Want to know how serious the state government is towards the conservation of dying waterbodies in the summer capital here? Sample this.

On June 3, on the instructions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon chaired a high-level meeting –directing the administration to get rid of the encroachments along the twin lakes of Khushalsar and Gilsar in north City, within a fortnight.

Almost a month on, the concerned have even not visited the area than to talk of removal of encroachments.

A senior official said prompted by the Divisional Commissioner’s diktat, the authorities had decided to “instantly” undertake survey of the area, for identification of the encroachments for subsequent removal.

A committee headed by Additional Commissioner was required to meet to fix the date for ground survey of the twin-lakes. The committee was scheduled to have members from the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Revenue Department and Police, who would visit the lakes in the old City. “Even the committee meeting has not been held, which would decide the date and time to undertake the survey” a senior Enforcement Officer in the SMC said.

Admitting failure, the officials said they remained ‘so over-occupied with    other engagements’ that the dying waterbodies didn’t stay in their priority list. 

Officials said it would take at least another fortnight to initiate the survey. “In the last spell of Ramazan, the administration remains busy with Eid preparations through market inspections, sanitation and other efforts… So the matter will be definitely looked into after Eid” a senior official in the civic body said.

A decision taken at the District Development Board meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on May 21 had prompted Samoon to issue the orders. 

Official documents reveal that at the Board Meeting MLA Zadibal, Abid Ansari, sought immediate action and need for constituting a separate conservation authority for these lakes. 

Subsequently, earlier this month the Divisional Commissioner underscored the need for conservation of Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar lakes.

The meeting, as per an official handout, was attended by Deputy Commissioners of Srinagar, and Ganderbal, Vice Chairman SDA, Commissioner SMC, Director, Ecology and Remote Sensing J&K, Director Tourism Kashmir, Chief Town Planner, Kashmir, Chief Engineer NBCC Ltd Srinagar, Chief Wild life Warden and other concerned officers.

Threadbare discussions were held on significant decrease in areas of these lakes due to illegal encroachments and constructions. 

It was informed that the present area of Khushalsar had squeezed to 1184 kanals from 1260 kanals on account of encroachments and illegal constructions around it.

“The Divisional Commissioner directed the Municipal authorities to clear encroachments and constructions around these lakes within 15 days. He asked them not to allow any further illegal constructions or encroachments around these lakes,” the official handout had said.

Those who attended the meeting had equally assured to “religiously implement” the orders. 

“All the officers assured the Divisional Commissioner that they will work with cooperation and added zeal to preserve the lakes and stop further encroachments besides removing illegal constructions around these lakes within 15 days,” the official handout said. 

Despite repeated attempts, the Divisional Commissioner could not be contacted for comments.

 

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