Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday directed VC-LAWWDA to submit maps of demarcation of Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar lakes on the next hearing after court commissioner informed court that Anchar Lake was “dead” now.
Presenting photographs and videos the court commissioner Sajad Ahmed Mir stated that Anchar is dead and “there is no lake now”.
He stated that it has become a landmass and unabated constructions have come up over its peripheries. All the waste material is dumped into the lake and nothing has been done over the years to save the lake.
Hearing the court commissioner, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey remarked it was evident that Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar are fast vanishing and measures have to be taken now to save these water bodies before saving Dal Lake as all these water bodies are linked to each other.
The court asked for maps of demarcation of Anchar, Khushalsar and Gilsar on next hearing. “After the report we will see what steps could be taken to save these water bodies,” the court said.
Going through the report of monitoring committee, the court issued directions to IGP Kashmir to provide assistance immediately to LAWDA authorities whenever required in curbing unauthorized constructions in Dal Lake.
The report presented by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) submitted that 0.8 square kilometres of Dal Lake had been cleared of water lilies, out of the estimated 5 square kilometres and the drive is continuing on war footing basis.
The court directed that progress of work should continue and updated report be filed on next hearing.
Observing that huge masses of lily pads have piled up in the lake, the court directed department of agriculture production to utilize the lily pads in the form of animal fodder and fertilizers.
The fisheries department who presented their report before court today submitted that there are 16 species of fishes in Dal Lake.
The report stated that the physio-chemical properties and high nutrient level in the lake has led to the decline and also illegal ways of fishing is responsible.
The court was informed that illegal fishing in the lake takes place during night hours, “without any concern shown by the department”.
Taking notice of the report, the court directed the fisheries department to stop the illegal fishing forthwith and verify licences for fishing in the lake. The court also asked the department to properly file report of other fish species.
The court also took note of two artificial wetlands and four resting ponds existing in Dal Lake reported by the scientific committee. It remarked that certain kind of vegetation can be done on these wetlands so that it can suck up nutrients and silt from the catchment areas, which can halt growth of weeds and improve water quality in the lake.
The state counsel informed the court that the depth of Dal Lake could not be ascertained yet and requested the court to grant more time. The court granted four more weeks and asked for a report.
The STP’s functioning report was not produced before court today. “We direct Commissioner Secretary Monitoring committee to file actual timeline of when the existing STPs will be upgraded and new ones constructed. The report has to be filed on next date of hearing. In case it is not done, commissioner secretary shall remain present on next hearing.”
“In so far as water analysis is concerned, the research and monitoring section of LAWDA be equipped with latest equipments so that water quality can be analysed more efficiently and in detailed manner,” the court said.
As far as water quality of Cheshma-Shahi is concerned, the court remarked that all parameters have been done and now water is absolutely safe for drinking purpose.