Governor N.N. Vohra flagged off the Cleaning and De-weeding operations launched under “Swachatta hi Sewa” Abhiyan from the Oberoi Ghat at Dal Lake, Srinagar.
This drive has been launched jointly by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) and Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
Hirdesh Kumar, Commissioner Housing and Urban Development Department; A.H. Shah, VC LAWDA; Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar; and Dr Shafqat Khan, Commissioner SMC were present on the occasion.
Addressing the labourers and volunteers on the occasion, Governor observed that the Dal Lake, which is an invaluable scenic beauty, must be preserved and protected at all costs.
Under no circumstances must this enchanting water body be polluted or lose its visual attraction because of the profuse weed growth which has come up in large parts of the lake.
Governor observed 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 Lotus and other growth resulting in more than half of the water surface not being visible at all to the viewer.
Governor 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.
He added that 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.
Governor observed that the Sewerage flow into the lake is one of the damaging factors for the alarming weed growth and suggested urgent re-alignment of House Boats along the Kohnakhan water front and connecting House Boats in Nageeen to the sewerage network.
He observed that a cleaner Srinagar would attract a much large number of tourists and appealed to the public to provide strong support in building a cleaner J&K, as part of the “Swachatta hi Sewa” Abhiyan which is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi for his birth anniversary on 2nd October.
Along with Commissioner Housing, Dy. Commissioner, VC LAWDA and MC Srinagar, Governor undertook an inspection of the infested parts of the lake, particularly around the Charchinari and inspected ongoing de-weeding operations. At Charchinari Governor discussed issues relating to the rejuvenation and upkeep of the famous chinar trees and suggested urgent steps for the maintenance of this heritage spot.
In this context, he asked Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, to have the dead trees removed and new trees planted in consultation with experts in the Forest Department and SKUAST-K.
Earlier, VC, LAWDA, in his presentation, informed 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 complimented Commissioner Housing and all concerned officers present on the occasion for the very large scale Cleanliness Drive launched today and requested Hirdesh Kumar Singh to keep him informed about the results achieved.