SrinagarEven though hundreds of crores have been spend so far on conservation and management projects, the condition of Dal, Khushallsar, Anchar lakes here continues to be deteriorating.
People believe that there are various aspects which are responsible for snatching the glory of these water bodies. It is shocking that the authorities are not interested in keeping lakes safe from pollution. Dal lake which once covered an area of 75 square kilometres has shrunk to 12 square kilometres in the last two decades. It has been said that the lakes depth has also come down by nearly 12 metres and is a grave sign of the dangers the lake faces, said one of the social activists.
The study conducted by the University of Kashmir has also found that Dal lake has lost 24.49% of its area during the last 157 years due to unregulated changes in land use and land cover.
Numbers from the Dal Lakes pollution statistics look ominous as the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA) estimates that nearly 80,000 tonnes of silt, 31,000 kg of nitrates and 4,000 kg of phosphates are added annually to the lake. In the past three decades, the nitrate and phosphate rich water has been responsible for gastrointestinal diseases for people living around the lake, the LAWDA has said.
It would be unfair to say that there have been no efforts to save the Dal Lake. Over Rs. 1,100 crore has been spent on improving the lakes state since the 1980s.
Similarly senior citizens of the Srinagar city told KNS that Khushal Sar Lake is in highly deteriorated condition. It has been encroached upon at many places with illegal construction and land filling The lake once stretched from Zoonimar up to the Aali Masjid but now it is considerably reduced. It is connected to the Anchar lake via a small channel. Another smaller lake, known as Gilsar, is connected to the Khushal Sar via a narrow strait, which is spanned by a bridge known as Gil Kadal. The Gilsar lake is in turn connected to the Nigeen lake via the Nallah Amir Khan. Until the 1970s, the Mar Canal drained into this lake providing navigability up to Ganderbal via the Anchar lake. After the filling up of the Mar Canal, the condition of the lake deteriorated further, Mohmmad Afzal Khan an aged person of Ali Masjid told KNS.
Meanwhile the people from Soura said that once the beauty of states summer capital Srinagar, the Anchar Lake is a picture perfect example of how a world famous water body due to inefficient governance gets destroyed.
Anchar Lake is located in Soura area of Srinagar city at a distance of 10 kilometers from Srinagar city centre. Some decades back andhar used to be famous tourism and fishing spot. This lake has been the worst hit by growing human encroachments and also official apathy to a large extent as a result it is now more a cesspool, said one of the locals here.
Another local, Hafizullah states, Anchar Lake is in very bad condition as the lake now has been reduced to marshy land and most of it stands encroached. On the other hand, the menace of pollution and the discharge of untreated effluents besides encroachments have contaminated the lake. The rich and diverse flora and fauna that once grew in the Anchar Lake is extinct and the lake is now infested with weeds. The water here has contaminated due to direct dumping of sewage and waste material in the lake from human settlements. It is high time that authorities save Anchar Lake from catastrophe.
According to some Medical Doctors, water pollution is the worst problem in Kashmir as various chronic diseases of stomach, liver and intestines have been detected among patients. It is because many people of the valley are consuming polluted water to a great extent which is dangerous.
People of several areas both rural and urban districts; face extreme shortage of drinking water. While most of the areas remain without water supply scheme others get water which is far free from being fit enough for drinking purpose.
It is to mention here that the state government had also admitted that the condition of lakes was deteriorating.
The written reply from the government in the legislative assembly has said that in pursuance of the directions of the High Court, Rs 100 crore has been sent as pre-feasibility report (PFR) for Gilsar, Khushallsar and Anchar lakes to Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) for their prioritization under next ADB loan funding. (KNS)
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