Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed authorities to provide aerial photographs of Dal Lake so as to ascertain shrinkage of the endangered water body.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also expressed serious concern over the influx of untreated sewer into the lake, a flagship of Kashmir’s tourism.
During the hearing of the PIL, filed in 2002 by an individual Syed Tahir Iqbal, LAWDA’s Executive Engineer submitted before the court that approximately 44.2 million litres of sewage is generated within and outside the peripheries of the lake per day.
He said there are 800 houseboats and about 50,000 Dal dwellers, many of whom are living without authorisation.
“The illegal inhabitants be evicted and sewage treatment be provided to legal inhabitants till their shifting,” the court said.
“We are informed that 44.2mn sewage is generated per day in and around the lake and obviously it is destroying the ecology of lake,” the court said and sought report from the concerned authorities regarding the quality of water.
The court directed authorities to take water samples at different points at both Dal as well as Nigeen Lake and submit the analysis report by next date of hearing on May 25. On the previous date of hearing, the court had said that if stern action was not taken against the encroachers, “our posterity may lose to see the Dal Lake”. It called for lake’s preservation and protection as collective responsibility by all, whether state or its citizens.
“With great pain, we are persuaded to observe that in case strong commitment is not exhibited and stern action is not taken against the encroachers, our posterity may lose to see world-famous water body, ‘Dal Lake’,” the court had said, underling that “preservation and protection of Dal Lake is a collective responsibility of all, be it the state, its instrumentalities or citizens. Everyone has to contribute a bit so that the glory of the Dal is not tarnished any further.”
The court had said that a strong action plan for restoration of lake to its actual position in a systematic manner has to be evolved.
Terming the constitution of monitoring committee headed by chief secretary as a step in right direction, the court had expressed hope that it will meet regularly and take prompt decision to “advance the object for which it has been constituted—to save Dal and restore its pristine glory.”