Land acquisition hurdles slowing rejuvenation works on Brari Nambal

Land acquisition hurdles slowing rejuvenation works on Brari Nambal

Deteriorating state of lagoon irking residents, putting away tourists

Srinagar: Government’s rejuvenation plans on Brari Nambal lagoon in Srinagar haven’t seen much of headway, even as locals are annoyed over the deteriorating state of the water body
One a small freshwater lake, connected to Dal Lake through a channel, the lagoon has lost much of its glory over time.
Locals say that due to non-seriousness of government residents as well as hotel owners and shopkeepers in the vicinity are suffering, as foul smell emanating from the lagoon, also known as Bab Demb keeps visitors away.
Two years back, then Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Singh, had approved a rejuvenation project at estimated cost of Rs 16.91 crores for the conservation of Brari Nambal in the State Annual Action Plan 2016-2017 for Srinagar city under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
“Both government and people have to think about it, there is no doubt it is getting polluted by each passing day. It has reduced so much. Government has to take serious steps to ensure that the lake is preserved. Or time will come it will become history,” said Mohammad Nazir,a resident of Bab Demb area.
“Sometimes they start dredging for one side, and sometime they are doing fencing, but the concerned department is not taking proper steps to preserve this lagoon,” he said.
Because of the stink emanating from the lagoon, not many visitors are willing to visit the area, leaving scores of guest houses and hotels in the area to suffer.
“There are at least 130 guest houses around Brari Nambal and there is no tourist flow in the vicinity because of the untidy lagoon,” said Bashir Wani, a hotel owner in the locality.
In summers no tourist is ready to hire a room in the area.
“Kashmiri Pandits visiting Manglashawar temple situated in the centre of lagoon to offer prayers also complain of stink. Earlier they would visit the temple in Shikaras and on way drink its water but now due to official apathy, the lagoon has turned into a marsh. Almost main four drains are connected to the lagoon,” Wani added.
Sajjad Hussain, Vice Chairman of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) said there are six- seven components in Brari Nambal rejuvenation but the main reason for slow progression is the land acquisition issue.
“Out of 700 kanals of land state has only 200 kanals under their belt and the remaining land is becoming an issue so the work will only get complete if land acquisition issue gets resolved. Land acquisition is our main concern. Keeping in mind our requirements, we have asked for Rs 80 crore but yet we have not received any response,” he said.
“We have only 200 kanals of land with us and we are doing dredging and removing silt on our portion but this will not solve the problem as the whole stretch needs dredging and maintenance,” he added.