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Governor Vohra invites experts for tackling Dal Lake issues

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SRINAGAR:  The famous Dal Lake has shrunk to less than half its original size with its capacity down to 40 per cent, officials said today as Governor N N Vohra invited the Navy and other experts to tackle issues faced by the water body.

The Governor had spoken to Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, during his visit to the state last month, for his help in identifying experts who could undertake a benchmark survey of the Dal Lake and later, also of the Wular Lake, an official spokesperson said here.

Vohra has also asked his adviser, B B Vyas, to get in touch with Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) Rajesh Tripathi, he said.

The Navy Chief had said Vice-Admiral S K Jha (Retd), former chief hydrographer, could assist the Jammu and Kashmir government in formulating an approach to deal with the problems faced by the Dal lake, the spokesman added.

“At the request of the state government, Vice-Admiral Jha (Retd) and Tripathi visited Srinagar on 30–31 July and undertook separate surveys and assessments to identify the problems,” he said.

The spokesman said the Governor chaired a meeting at the Raj Bhavan today where Jha and Tripathi presented their assessments.

“From the assessment made by the CMD of DCI, it was learnt that the size of Dal has shrunk from its original area of 22 sq km to about 10 sq km, that the water quality of Dal has deteriorated due to intense pollution caused by untreated sewage and solid wastes that flow into the lake, encroachments of water channels and clogging has diminished the circulation and inflows into the lake, leading to extensive weed growth of water hyacinth which has emerged as a health hazard

“It was also learnt that due to siltation, encroachment etc, the depth of the lake has reduced at many places and its total capacity has gone down to 40 per cent, the continuing night soil discharge from the 800-900 house boats is causing extreme pollution,” he said.

The official said consequent to the discussions, it was decided that the Navy chief would be asked for help in a comprehensive bathymetric survey of the Dal-Nageen lake to establish a benchmark database to decide the extent of dredging, etc., to be carried out at the various parts of the lake.

He said Vohra directed officials concerned to take immediate steps to implement the decisions taken in the meeting and asked Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam to closely monitor further progress.

Vohra would be personally reviewing progress on the basis of the chief secretary’s reports in regard to this very important project, the spokesman said.

The spokesman recalled that since the commencement of the Governor’s Rule, Governor N.N. Vohra has held two meetings to discuss the rapidly increasing congestion of the Dal Lake and, among the decisions taken, it was decided that manual de-weeding shall commence without any further delay.

Spokesman further recalled that a proposal which had been pending before the erstwhile Coalition Government for purchasing and hiring de-weeding, dredging and other equipment for the Dal Lake had been approved by the Governor, in the State Administrative Council, on 4th July 2018. He further stated that consequent to the Governor’s direction, 700-800 persons have been engaged by LAWDA for cleaning the Dal Lake since 21st July 2018.

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