PAHALGAM: Washing of vehicles on the banks of river Lidder in Pahalgam is playing havoc with the quality of water consumed by lakhs of people of the area. This practice is also proving disastrous for the trout fish found in abundance in the river.
Water quality of Lidder has already deteriorated due to the pollution caused by effluents from nearby hotels, residential houses and commercial buildings. As if this was not enough, the practice of washing private and commercial vehicles on its banks is proving disastrous.
“Dozens of commercial and private vehicles could be seen being washed on the banks of the Lidder near Nunwan and Mamal, under the nose of the authorities, who otherwise are supposed to save the water body,” eyewitnesses said.
“At anytime of the day, you can see dozens of drivers washing their vehicles using soap and other detergents without caring a bit for the water body. When around hundred vehicles are washed on the river banks each day, you can imagine the damage caused to the water body,” Ghulam Nabi, a local resident told Kashmir Reader.
Famous for its crystal clear and murmuring waters, Lidder which originates from Kolhai glacier is known for the quality of trout fish. Besides, the river is a source of drinking water for lakhs of people living along its banks and tributaries. Hundreds of illegal constructions including hotels have come up along its banks right from Aru to Mattan, posing threat to its existence.
In response to a PIL, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court imposed a blanket ban on constructions along its banks. But ground realities present a totally different picture. Despite the ban, hundreds of constructions have come up in Yanner, Batkote and Mawoora areas falling within the ambit of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA).
Mushtaq Pahalgami, a local environmentalist said that the washing of vehicles using detergents not only damages the flora and fauna of the river but is disastrous for the quality of trout.
“The irony is that all this is going on under the nose of Fisheries department and PDA officials. One wonders how can the officials allow the water body to be ruined,” Pahalgami told Kashmir Reader. The illegal practice, he said, would also prove dangerous for the people who use Lidder waters for drinking purposes.
“I have raised the issue with the officials concerned many a times but nothing is being done to stop the dangerous practice of vehicle washing by the drivers,” Pahalgami said. CEO, PDA did not respond to the repeated calls from Kashmir Reader. Assistant Director, Fisheries department, Anantnag Mohammad Sidiq however admitted that the washing of vehicles on Lidder banks is playing havoc with the water body.
“Yes, the drivers are washing their vehicles in Lidder or on the riverside at several places in Pahalgam which is proving to be biggest threat to trout fish. I have issued clear directions to my officials to get the people found indulging in this practice booked,” he said.