Ivkar Hussain Malik
The Mansar lake is situated 60 km from Jammu city. Its pristine beauty and the crystal clear environment around it attracts everybody, not only tourists but also the locals.
Mansar lake is famous for two main reasons. The first is that it is a tourist spot, and the other is that it has many holy sites. There are famous shrines like Sheshnag and there are temples like Umapati Mahadev, Narasimha temple, and Durga temple. Schools and colleges that are situated in Jammu city often send students to Mansar lake for picnic. Thousands of Hindus visit the temples for a ritual called “mundan” that involves shaving off the hair of children.
Mansar lake comes under the Ramsar convention treaty (1971), to which India is a signatory. Moreover, Mansar and Suransar lakes come under natural heritage sites. Mansar lake being a tourist spot provides employment to Hundreds of youths. Shopkeepers, minibus and cab drivers, and hoteliers are earning handsome amounts of money from tourists. But all this is at risk due to the increasing water level in Mansar lake. If, God forbid, the water level increases further, it will only bring destruction.
According to reports shown in news channels Aaj Tak, News 24, etc, the water level of the lake is increasing really fast. Day by day the banks are sinking into water due to erosion and this is creating panic among the people living beside the lake. Being a native of the land I consider it my responsibility to put this situation in front of people through this platform. I want to draw the attention of the J&K tourism department that thousands of lives and livelihoods are at stake. The monsoon will make the situation worse mid July and early August.
The restoration and maintenance work of the lake should be handed over to a competent authority which has expertise in such work. They should be allowed to work without any involvement of political groups. Some senior officers must be appointed by the tourism department to oversee the work.
People who live on the banks should also realise their duty and responsibility to protect the lake. They should cooperate with the authorities to preserve the pristine beauty of the lake and prevent the destruction that will surely occur if the necessary steps are not taken.