SRINAGAR: Governor, Satya Pal Malik today called for initiating both short and long-term measures for the effective conservation and preservation of the J&K’s water bodies including the Dal Lake.
Chairing a high-level meeting at Civil Secretariat here this morning, Governor ordered fixing timelines for various tasks to be accomplished urgently for effective conservation and restoration measures.
Advisors to Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar & Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, Financial Commissioner Housing & Urban Development, KB Agarwal; Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula; Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan; Vice-Chairman LAWDA, Dr Abdul Hafeez and other concerned officers were present at the meeting.
Governor called for framing a comprehensive legislative framework for conservation of water bodies in the State as these are closely linked to the survival of the people.
Governor made it clear that conservation and restoration of water bodies including Dal-Nageen Lakes will be among the priority areas of his Administration and the Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech this year, also stressed the urgency of the conservation of this important water bodies in J&K.
Financial Commissioner, Housing & Urban Development, briefed the Governor in detail about the measures being taken for the conservation of the Dal-Nageen Lakes.
These include procurement of machinery and equipment as already approved by the State Administrative Council (SAC), removal of encroachments upgradation of STPs, deweeding and cleaning of lake surface, installation of Bio-Digesters, restoration and beautification of The Boulevard and relocation of Dal dwellers.
Relocation of Structures
The meeting was informed that giving the varying figures regarding the actual number of structures to be relocated from in and around the Dal Lake on the directions of the High Court, the Government has ordered fresh survey of all such structures to be completed within 10 days under the supervision of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
Governor directed that the fresh survey should be a comprehensive updated exercise to identify and enlist, preferably on the basis of Aadhaar number and photograph of the head of each family, each such structure which is to be relocated as a part of the Dal Conservation program. He said the support of local elected representatives and other stakeholders should be enlisted for the purpose.
Procurement of Machinery
Governor was informed that following the approval the State Administrative Council (SAC), for procurement/hiring of lake cleaning machinery and equipment including weed harvesters, skimmers and amphibious excavators, the tenders have already been floated in this regard and the process for procurement/purchase of machinery is to be completed within next two months.
Further 900 Bio-Digesters at a cumulative cost of Rs 15 crore are to be installed in House Boats in the Lake for treatment of sewage emanating from them.
Governor was informed that the number of boats and manpower has been doubled to 1000 and 2000 respectively to expedite manual deweeding/skimmingof the Lake to ensure that the Lake surface is cleared of weeds and hazardous plantation by December 2018.
Governor directed that the Vice-Chairman LAWDA would personally visit the interiors of the Lake regularly to monitor the progress of deweeding and ensure set targets are met within the timeline.
Installation of STPS
Governor was informed that LAWDA has moved a proposal for increasing the capacity of Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) around the Lake from the existing 36 MLD to 50 MLD to ensure that no raw sewage from the catchments goes into the Lake for which Rs 111 crore are needed.
The meeting was informed that drainage and STP network in being strengthened to prevent night soil of around 60000 population presently going directly into the lake.
Relocation of Dal dwellers
The meeting was informed that in order to facilitate the rehabilitation of dwellers, J&K Housing Board was authorized to initiate the construction of 13000 3BHK flats at Rakh-e-Arth through cost recovery mechanism under PPP mode and 7,500 2BHK flats at Chandpora, Harwan specifically for Dal dwellers on cross subsidized basis.
It was further decided that in view of the fresh proposal for construction of flats, no new plots would be allotted to the Dal dwellers.
The meeting decided that the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) would make a detailed presentation before the State Administrative Council regarding the dredging proposal before a decision is taken on the same.
Beautification of the Boulevard
The meeting decided that the Public Works Department (R&B) would immediately take up restoration of the Boulevard pavements from Dalgate to SKICC in the first phase.
Governor was also informed about other issues concerning Dal Lake including proposed construction of Western Foreshore Road, formulation of Master Plan, study regarding estimation of pesticides in Dal Lake, tackling Red Algal bloom, vegetation mapping, formulation of Water Sports Policy, development of Dole Dumb and artificial wetlands, unified control of House Boats, policy framework for promoting water sports in Dal and Nageen Lakes and strengthening of the Enforcement wing of the LAWDA. The meeting passed appropriate directions on each issue.