‘Eliminate Lily from water body’
The High Court on Wednesday expressed its dismay over the solid waste being thrown into Dal lake, terming it “disgraceful”.
“Disgraceful. God helps those who help themselves,” a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey observed after seeing a footage that flaunted solid waste that was collected from Dal lake. The photographs depicted heaps of garbage which included head of a sheep, animal intestines and other waste.
In its directions, court today asked the government to remove lily, stop uncontrolled fishing and upgrade STPs so that the water body is saved.
“Lilly has to be eliminated. It is foreign to Dal lake. 30 years ago there was no lily. Last report of Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) said lily has to be removed. If surface area of Dal is covered by lily where will be the Dal lake then. You have to take the Dal to its original position” the bench observed.
Observing that 0.3 square Kilometers of surface area of Dal lake has been cleared of water lilies so far, the court pointed out that it is 10 percent of the water lilly that covers the estimated area of 5 square Kms under the plant.
LAWDA’s counsel however submitted that it will take some time to make Dal clear of lilies as traditional methods of removing the lily pads has been under taken so that chances of its growing again are minimized.
The court, however, ordered that the drive against lily be continued on war footing and sought status report on the areas that would be cleared of these plants with photographic evidence.
“At the same time the process of de-weeding/ skimming shall continue so that the surface of the Dal lake is freed of weeds,” court said, seeking photographic evidence.
The court was informed that there are four artificial wet lands that need to be upgraded and the SAC has suggested that plantation of vegetation in these wet lands to suck up nutrients and to also hold back the silt flowing into Dal lake.
“This would prevent the weeds and the silt from flowing into Dal lake which is causing deterioration in the water quality and growth of unwanted vegetation in the lake,” the court observed.
With regard to samples taken by the State Pollution Control Board (S PCB) on functioning to STPs at Nishat Lam Habak, Hazratbal, Brari Nambal New and Old, the court said all of them are producing results beyond permissible limits.
The court observed that all these STPs need upgradation and SAC too in its last meeting has noted that the up gradation of existing STPs is needed in time bound manner. The status report filed by PCB has also said that the STPs require up gradation.
“Have you any timeline for setting up of STPs. What is your per chart about the STPs,” court asked LAWDA.
When informed that they require huge funds, the court observed: “Why do you bother about funds, keep in mind the dividends from tourism. No one will come if Dal will vanish. Treat Dal like a patient and save it as it is dying”.
After it noticed from the SAC minutes of meeting that a great deal of illegal fishing in the form of laying nets is taking place in the Dal lake, the court directed fisheries department to take immediate steps in this direction and file compliance report.
The court also directed the fisheries department to indicate the criteria on the basis of which license for fishing is given.
“Uncontrolled fishing in Dal lake has to be controlled. How does illegal fishing take place at night. Can’t you control it when CCTVs are already installed in and around the lake” court asked.
“Has anybody made scientific study about the fish species in Dal lake,” the court observed and directed the fisheries department to file status report in this regard.