Srinagar: With the civil society and the stakeholders raising concern over the dying water bodies and wetlands in Kashmir region, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole Tuesday said that the government was adopting a “multipronged strategy” to revive the Brari Nambal lagoon to its pristine glory.
“We are adopting a multipronged strategy to revive Brari Nambal lagoon in Srinagar downtown,” Pole told Greater Kashmir.
“The government has kept around Rs 40 crore budget to uplift this dying water body,” he said. “We are having consultative meetings with the stakeholders and a roadmap is being devised to start working on the plan.”
The divisional commissioner urged the people of the area to come forward and help the administration in executing the much-needed work.
“To revive any vital water body, people’s participation and their active role is important,” he said. “Brari Nambal lagoon has been left unattended and people also have shown an adverse role. So, the time has come when a strategy is to be developed to get this important water body back to its pristine glory.”
The divisional commissioner said that the sewerage outlets go to the lagoon. “That is a major challenge. The government alone can’t achieve the goal of its revival. We have to work in close coordination with the people, especially the inhabitants of these areas who are supposed to install necessary sewage treatment units on a priority basis,” he said.
According to the stakeholders, the unabated encroachment on the lagoon and the inordinate delay in the conservation of the water body by the administration was severely affecting its fragile ecosystem.
They said that the lagoon once known for crystal clear waters and healthy aquatic life was now converted into to heaps of garbage.
According to the stakeholders from Srinagar downtown like Shehar-e-Khaas Association, the government should focus on the conservation of Brari Nambal lagoon.
President of the Shehar-e-Khaas Association Rouf Ahmad Kotta told Greater Kashmir that a lot was being said and less was being done on the ground.
“This is a litmus test for the administration to bring back this vital water body to its pristine glory,” he said.
Kotta said that a comprehensive anti-encroachment drive should be started alongside the water bodies to save them from further deterioration.
In absence of conservation measures, the lagoon is now on the verge of extinction with unabated pollution and extensive encroachments.
The Baba Demb area has for years remained in news for illegal dumping and filling of Brari Nambal lagoon and the construction of illegal structures.
According to experts, the lagoon is dying silently as encroachments and illegal constructions in the area continue to go unabated.
Greater Kashmir carried a series of stories on the plight of water bodies of Kashmir, especially the life of the lagoon and the administration’s failures of its conservation.
Brari Nambal is considered to be ecologically vital as it helps regulate the hydrology of the Dal Lake by releasing its surplus waters into River Jhelum via a conduit at Fateh Kadal. Prior to the 1970s, Brari Nambal had two outlets, one on the west side and the other on the north from Nallah Mar.
During the 1970s, Nallah Mar was earth-filled and converted into a road, severely affecting the water body’s hydrology through loss of flushing capacity.
Now weeds have engulfed a large expanse of the Brari Nambal waters and the water body has been extensively encroached upon on the Baba Demb side.
Meanwhile, the divisional commissioner said that he has directed the concerned officers to complete the demarcation of eight wetlands and two lakes including Wular and Dal Lake.
“Our men and machinery are working tirelessly to remove encroachments and are completing the process of de-weeding and de-silting. We are also monitoring the water bodies during regular review meetings,” he said. “We are also taking concrete steps for sewerage treatment and solid waste management in these areas.”
The divisional commissioner said that a comprehensive restoration plan of wetlands, fencing of wetlands, biomass resource utilisation, budget support and demolition of intersectional bunds was on the anvil.