Floriculture department slept over when the trees shows signs of damage after 2014 floods
SRINAGAR: Three of the four majestic Mughal-era Chinars at Char Chinari islet in Dal Lake have dried up, imperiling the future of the small tourist hotpot.
While the Floriculture department is now beating around the bush on how to retrieve the damage done, no steps were taken to save the Chinars when they began to show early signs of decay.
Dal dwellers say the Chinars began to show “signs of dryness” after 2014 floods, but the Floriculture department, which has a full time employee posted on the islet, came to know about it after Governor N N Vohra brought it into their notice, some time back.
“The Chinars remain in the flood water for many weeks together. It damaged three of them whose signs were shown immediately when the flood water receded, but nothing was by the department to save it,” Tariq Ahmad, a shikarawala (boatman) who ferries tourists in the lake, said.
Char-chinari, also known as Ropa lank, is an small island known for its four majestic Chinars in the Dal lake, built by the Murad Baksh, brother of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Because of its scenic beauty, it has been a major tourist attraction, and has featured in some popular Bollywood movies.
The shikarawallas, however, not longer prefer to ferry tourists to the place.
“We try to avoid taking tourists to the Char Chinari because of its present state. It is only when someone presses for it. Why should we take them to a place that has lost its value? It is famous for its four chinars, what remains there when they are not there. At present it has grass, few small trees, nothing else. I wish good sense prevails in the government,” Abdul Hameed, a shikarwalla said.
As the dried up Chinars fail to enchant the visitors, the Floriculture department has begun to ponder on how to restore the glory of the Chinars and the Char Chinari.
Naseer Ahmad Hussani, Floriculture officer Srinagar, told Kashmir Reader that after the Governor Vohra brought the issue in their notice, the department has begun to take step regarding its restoration.
“They were damaged mostly by floods. They have also passed their age. Governor sahab also noticed it before forest department. Many meetings were held in its regard of its restoration. Now we have asked deputy commissioner Srinagar, director of department to decide what is to be done now,” Hussani said.
“We have two options, either to uproot them or take some measures that can increase its life. We have written to the agriculture university to give their expert advice,” he added.