The idea that no government initiative can deliver at an optimum level if the community is not involved in it is borne out of perennial wisdom. In the modern day governance it is now an established practice that if any project that has a widespread import doesn’t involve the concerned communities, the chances of success are small.
Looked at from this perspective the statement of the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha while flagging off the programme for the rejuvenation of Dal Lake, Athwas, is well placed.
For a project like reviving a water body, a partnership between citizens and authorities is a must for ensuring expected results.
The case of a water body like Dal Lake is very peculiar. It is not just a water body that people from within Kashmir and outside come to watch.
It is an ecosystem that has much to offer to all those who are interested in nature, natural beauty, and natural systems. Not just that, Dal Lake has a dwelling in it.
There are people who live in this water body and they undertake their commercial activities within this water body. Besides, there are house boat owners who are a part of this ecosystem.
This lake is a complete system that involves nature, commerce and people. If this lake is to be revived it is not possible without the participation of the people who are associated with it in the most intimate ways.
It would require a customised approach to chalk out the details of how these people would be involved in the rejuvenation of the lake.
To this end the government must undertake sensitisation drives to educate people about the dangers faced by this lake, and the ways to face those dangers. There have been umpteen programmes that were rolled out up till now to revive this lake.
We can not pass a sweeping judgment on all those programmes, but we need to learn from the failures of the past, and devise new initiative accordingly.
If on one hand we need people’s participation, we also need a detailed analysis of the earlier initiatives and where they failed.