To ensure both regular water supply and a boost to the state’s tourism sector the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) had plans to launch a massive drive to de-silt and remove encroachments from existing water channels.
The anti-encroachment drive was finally launched in April this year after various players put pressure on the concerned authorities to end choking of the Dal lake and canals linked to it. The authorities managed to restore the Taelbal and Shalimar water channels, which now bring fresh water into the Dal lake. They are also planning to beautify these channels and make them more presentable. The drive was widely hailed. But then it was abandoned for unknown reasons.
There is a lot to be done to restore pristine glory of some important water bodies. The Brari Nambal, a beautiful lagoon of yesteryears is dying fast. It has been turned into a garbage dump by some people who have set up a number of junkyards on its banks. The LAWDA has to wake up and take tangible measures to save the lagoon. Similarly, the Anchar lake which provided livelihood to lakhs of people has almost succumbed. However, experts believe the lake can still be revived if the toxic material from the SKIMS is diverted to other places or treated properly before it goes into the lake. Vested interests are filling portions of the lake and grabbing the land. The authorities know about it but are reluctant to take action. It is believed that the land grabbers owe allegiance to a particular political party and therefore escape legal action. Experts also believe that the preservation of water bodies cannot, and should not be entrusted to the authorities alone especially in a place like Jammu and Kashmir where politicians vandalise environment for vote bank politics. Civil society has to play an important role and keep an eye on elements which indulge in such detestable acts. The efforts of civil society should not end just there. Tangible actions ranging from protests to judicial intervention have to be taken to preserve the environment. It is also a religious obligation on Muslims. Allah shall question people on environmental preservation as well. If we remain silent today, the coming generations will definitely curse us for over apathy and indifference to nature.