Decline of the Dal – Governor to review with Chief Minister

Consequent to Governor N.N. Vohra’s earlier discussions with the Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti regarding the rapidly declining visual aspect of the Dal Lake, the latter had asked Chief Secretary B.B. Vyas, who is also the Chairperson of the High Court appointed Dal Lake Monitoring Committee, to apprise the Governor about the to-date status of the ongoing works.

Governor, along with Chief Secretary B.B. Vyas and other concerned officers, undertook an inspection of the Dal last evening, particularly traversing the central and the Zakoora end of this beautiful water body. After his extensive tour Governor observed that more than half of the water surface of the Lake is no longer visible to the visitors because of the rapidly growing Lotus plant and a variety of weeds, particularly because the ongoing de-weeding process is proceeding almost at a negligible pace

After the inspection of the Lake, Chief Secretary Vyas made a presentation to the Governor when the Commissioner Housing Hirdesh Kumar, VC LAWDA Shri Tahseen Mustafa, Sr Law Officer HUDD Mohammad Abkar Dar and other concerned officers were also present. Vyas apprised the Governor about the various works under way and the decisions recently taken to speed up the entire process for countering the adverse impact of sewage and solid waste materials flowing into the lake, alongside the efforts underway to remove the weed infestation.

Governor observed that the targetted timeframes and the ongoing pace of work requires to be very significantly speeded up in respect of: (i) establishment of 30 MLD STP at Ishbar, Nishat; (ii) purchase of additional weeding harvesters and skimmers; (iii) re-location and rehabilitation of the existing inhabitants on the Dal; (iv) re-location of 380 House Boats to Dole Demb; (v) re-alignment of 230 House Boats along the Kohnakhan water front; and connecting 180 House Boats in Nageeen to the sewerage network. Governor noted that because of the reduction in the pace of de-weeding work in the past two years, the water surface has been rapidly encompassed by the Lotus and other growth (as would be seen from the photographs), resulting in more than half of the water surface not being visible at all to the viewer.

Presently, much more of the Lotus and other growth is visible and very little of the lake can be seen except in the area around the Nehru Park. He cautioned that if the de-weeding programme is not executed on 24/7 basis the alluvial process shall lead to a significant portion of the Lake being converted into a land mass as has happened to the Wular Lake. For achieving the required results, for saving the Lake, the pace of every element of the ongoing work shall have to be enhanced at least twenty fold and at least a dozen harvesters and skimmers shall need to be put into operation on virtually round the clock basis, besides very significantly stepping up manual de-weeding.

Spokesman of the Raj Bhavan disclosed that Governor plans to have a very early further meeting with the Chief Minister to discuss the outcome of his visit to the Lake.

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