Srinagar: Looking at the condition of Dal Lake it may sound astonishing, but it is true that a whopping Rs 239 crore has been spent by the government for the conservation of the water body in the last five years.
Minister of State Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai revealed this information to a question about the funds spent on Dal Lake in the last five years.
"During the last five years, funds to the tune of Rs 23,900 lakh have been utilised/spent on Dal lake. The outcome of the funds spent resulted in improved water quality, effluent parameters within permissible limits, development of jetties/viewing decks/ floating jetties /parks etc."
"Improving the livelihoods of Dal dwellers and other locals, mechanical de-weeding/skimming lily /floating garden extraction, aerators for circulation of water along the shoreline of the lake, collection of solid waste (9-10 MT approx) from hamlets within the lake and the houseboats and surface of the lake waters and its disposal, sewerage network of 863 houseboats inside Dal Nigeen Lake, proper supervision and monitoring of conservation works and construction activities etc," reads the reply.
The Jammu and Kashmir government previously testified in the High Court that it had spent Rs 759 crore in 16 years (i.e., 2002-2018) on the preservation of Dal lake and the building of infrastructure for the impacted water body's inhabitants.
The Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration has been advised to do new mapping of the renowned Dal Lake by a parliamentary commission.
The UT administration should remap Dal Lake, according to the department-related parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Home Affairs report. The panel observed that there is a large number of encroachments in the Dal lake area.
“Weeds, silt and untreated sewage are increasingly choking the beautiful lake, which draws tens of thousands of tourists each year. The waste discharge from houseboats also adds to the pollution in the lake. The committee observes that the visible outcome of the projects is yet to be seen,” the report further states.
“The Committee recommends that the UT administration may conduct fresh mapping of Dal Lake to get an understanding about the percentage of the lake’s water which is relatively clean or severely degraded. This will help the UT administration to make a conservation plan for Dal Lake as well as in removing encroachments,” reads the report which was tabled in the Parliament during the ongoing budget session.
The panel has recommended that the cleaning of the water body should be completed within a time frame. “Additional allocations, if required, may be sought from the Ministry of Finance at the Revised Estimates(RE) stage for this purpose,” the report states.