Infusing Life Into ‘Fast Vanishing’ Lakes

Srinagar—In order to infuse life into ‘fast vanishing’ Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar lakes here, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday directed Housing and Urban Development Department to expedite process of approval of detailed project report (DPR) for rejuvenating the water bodies at the earliest.

A division bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed passed the direction after perusing an affidavit by on behalf of the Financial Commissioner to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department that funds for preparing DPR on a proposal submitted by LAWDA have been released. However, the Vice Chairman. LAWDA who was present in the court stated that the DPRs regarding the three lakes stand already submitted.

According to him, the project is funded by Economic Reconstruction Agency under ADB source. “The Financial Commissioner is directed to expedite the process of approval of DPR and ensure that this project is executed at the earliest,” the court said. Earlier this year, the government said that Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar lakes have “somewhat deteriorated”.

The condition of Dal Lake has not deteriorated as the project for its conservation and preservation is implementation with Lakes & Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA). However, in respect of Anchar Lake, Gilsar and Khushalsar Lakes have somewhat deteriorated,” the government informed the legislative assembly during the recently concluded Budget Session.

In a written reply to a question by member of Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, who also heads the U&UDD said following directions by the High Court, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister on September 15 last year held a meeting and a prefeasibility report for the lakes for Rs 100 crores each have been sent the J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (J&K ERA) for their prioritization under next ADB loan funding but decision was yet to be taken. Besides, physical demarcation of these lakes shall be taken up by a committee headed by the divisional commissioner Kashmir, he said.

In September last year, the high had court observed that the lakes were “fast vanishing” and called LAWDA’s VC to submit maps “clearly demarcating the areas covered by the lakes.”

The report, the court had said, shall also indicate what was the original area covered by the lakes and to what extent the lakes have been restricted in the present day.

The LAWDA had informed that it has submitted two separate proposals, one on Anchar and other on Khushalsar and Gilsar for their reclamation and rejuvenation.

Nestled between Hawal and Zadibal areas, Gilsar and Khushalsar are two interconnected lakes which receive waters from Dal Lake. Both gradually flow into Anchar which in itself is connected with the Dal Lake through a waterway called Nallah Aamir Khan.

The government of India has already refused a pre-feasibility report submitted by the state government for the conservation of lakes.

“A pre-feasibility report was submitted to GoI for conservation of Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar, the same was refused with observation that such projects can be considered only after sewerage of the areas is taken care first,” the LAWDA had revealed in a compliance report filed by him before the high court.

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