Dry spell forces authorities to suspend transport facility in Jhelum

Jammu: Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh today said that the water transport facility in the Jhelum river was suspended due to a drop in the water level.

He said this in the Legislative Assembly in a reply to a question by PDP MLA Mohammad Ashraf Mir.

The services would be resumed once the level increases, Singh said, adding that the cruise facility was launched on July 11 last year and continued for some time on complimentary basis.

On July 24, 2017, the department had offered a subsidised service at Rs 25 per person and the service was offered twice a day from 10 am and 4 pm, he said

Singh, who holds Housing and Urban Development portfolio, said that Rs 1.50 crore was spent on the service as on date in the ongoing fiscal.

In response to another part of the question, he said that over Rs 4 crore was spent on removal of weed from the Dal Lake in the last three years.

Singh said that Rs 60 lakh was spent in 2014-15, over Rs 1.85 crore in 2015-16 and over Rs 1.55 crore in 2016-17.

The Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) is undertaking manual and mechanical harvesting wherein the weed is removed from the lake by way of engaging labourers near the shore line and deploying machines in the deeper portions, he said.

“The lake looks bad when the macrophytes have an uncontrolled growth. The reason for uncontrolled weed growth in the lake happens mostly during the period when the temperature starts increasing – summer to autumn — as the high temperature is directly proportionate to the release of nutrients from the sediments,” Singh said.

In addition to the de-weeding operation, he said that the LAWDA has commissioned five plants to treat sewage entering the lake.

The authority is in the process of upgrading three sewage treatment plants at Hazratbal, Habak and Laam, he said.

This is being done so that the plants can meet the new standards, Singh said. (PTI)

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