Srinagar: A report submitted to the High Court has cited the excavation of Nallah Ameer Khan – the link between Dal lake and Anchar lake-as one of the reasons for deterioration of Dal Lake, with the remarks that the September 2014 floods would not have been so devastating if the Nallh Ameer Khan had not been excavated too deep.
The report presented by the two member court vigilance commissioners in the matter pertaining to conservation of Dal Lake cited a narrative published in newspapers, and authored by Iftikhar Ahmed Drabu, a civil engineer.
While the report laments the burial of another prestigious canal, the Nalla Mar, for which the author says, had it been in existence the 2014 floods would not have been so devastating, it depicts an opposing picture of Nalla Amir Khan.
“With excavation of Nallah Amir Khan link between Dal Lake and Anchar lake, the water level in the lake dropped quickly and substantially. One can only guess today but it seems that the excavation must have been deep one with the result it drained the Dal much below then the normal level prevailing low water level of the lake. This lowering of the water level resulted in formation of new land mass. The decision to keep the lower level of water had a series of consequences on the lake and its interconnected channels. The reduced depth of the water level exposed the bed level of the lake to sunlight which caused photosynthesis resulting in algae bloom in the lake,” the report quotes the author.
“Secondly formation of land mass encouraged and facilitated habitation resulting in encroachments and illegal constructions within the periphery of the lake. Also the reduced depth of water turned Nallah Mar into sewer.”
He further says that the unplanned and visionless decisions taken post 1950’s were responsible for the decay of Dal Lake.
It was the river Jhelum not Dal Lake in which the houseboats were allowed to moor but post 1950’s the unplanned decision taken to allow houseboats to moor in the Dal Lake started the downhill journey of the lake.
The commissioner’s report state the conservation of the lake is at cross-roads and if the court had not taken cognizance of the matter, the lake would have been gone by now.
Despite huge expenses, sewerage projects pending
Untreated domestic waste is going directly into Dal Lake despite huge expenses on sewerage projects in the city, the report submitted by court appointed commissioners pointed out.
“The issue has been highlighted many times but unfortunately it has not been addressed as it should have been. The laying of drainage pipelines underground across the city and suburbs took a great effort and huge amount of money was spent on the project. The result would have been fabulous system of water treatment and a comparatively better quality water being discharged into the lake. But due to one reason or the other this proposition has remained a distant dream and still evades reality and in most of the cases due to absence of due diligence and presence of inattention.”
The report cited the example of the “sorry state of the connectivity of STP at Bharaar in the Lal Bazaar area” and the fact that the entire connectivity has been “hijacked by a small patch of land” thus resulting in untreated water directly going into the Nigeen Lake.
“Already the court has passed directions in this matter but evidently nothing seems to be done on ground. Had it been any other land acquisition matter things would have been considerably tolerated but given the matter in hand nothing has been done. The non connectivity of the drainage pipe at this spot has resulted in the extreme pressure of the untreated water from the domestic sources being burdened by the lake and its banks.”