Majid Kapra

‘Nadru production’ falls in Dal and Nigeen lakes

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Experts blame rising pollution, siltation for it

Srinagar: Growing pollution levels and the direct disposal of human waste into the Dal and Nigeen lakes have resulted in a sharp decline in the production of ‘Nadru’.

Lotus stem, locally known as ‘Nadru’ is a priced delicacy in Kashmiri cuisine.

Environmental experts and those associated with the trade-in Nadru have voiced concern over the decline in its production, citing rising pollution levels and increasing urbanization as the main reasons.

Growers say that Nigeen Lake, also known as “Nigeena,” which means “the jewel in the ring,” and Dal Lake, one of the most visited tourist destinations in Srinagar, have seen a sharp fall in Nadru output.

“The day may not be far when the negligence in saving these lakes may wipe them out from Kashmir’s map. Consider the state of Dal Lake, once a pristine water-body, but today a sort of cesspool with a very uncertain future. The issue is not just the fall in Nadru production, but the far more vital issue is if these lakes are going to sustain…,” said Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, a prominent businessman and environmentalist.

Speaking to ‘Kashmir Images’ Wangnoo said although the condition of the Nigeen Lake is still comparatively better than the Dal Lake, it too is steadily being destroyed by direct discharge of thousands of metric tons of garbage and human excreta from the surrounding areas.

The accumulation of huge garbage and solid waste in the lake beds have decreased the depth of both these lakes, which had had a direct bearing not only on the growth of Badru but has also altered its taste and flavor, says Wangnoo, who has been a witness to the shifting patterns of Nigeen and Dal lakes.

“The rapid urbanization within and around these water-bodies, the accumulation of enormous garbage, and the direct disposal of human excreta have resulted in a decline not only in the production but also in the taste of Nadru,” he added.

He maintained that things would continue getting worse for Dal and Nigeen lakes until people stopped polluting them.

Nadru grower Mohammad Subhan, who braves all weather conditions to collect Nadru from deep inside the lake by diving into the contaminated Dal waters, confirms that the water-body has become shallow over the years. “Nadru production in Dal Lake has declined to such an extent that I am not sure if we would be able to harvest it after a decade or so,” he told ‘Kashmir Images’, adding the alteration in flavor brought on by pollution in Dal Lake, the market value of Nadru has also been impacted.

Dr. Khurshid Ahmad, a research scholar at the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences (SKUAST-K) said the siltation plays a crucial role in decreasing the depth of Dal Lake, apart from garbage. The inner layer of Dal Lake, he said, would surely be affected by the siltation that has been happening there over the years.

“This has drastically altered the microbiota in the lake bed, which has in turn resulted in changes in everything, including the Nadru, that grows in it,” he said.

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