Srinagar: Over 640 kanals of the Wular Lake – South Asia’s one of the largest freshwater lakes- have been encroached upon, divisional administration here has revealed.
“In total 640 kanals of land is under encroachment including the government authorized/ accommodated Sher colony. It was apprised that there was approximately 90 kanals of land under encroachment situated at outer parameters of the Wular Lake out of which encroachment at 10 kanals have been removed,” reads an official note of a meeting chaired by Divisional Commissioner on conditions of wetlands in Kashmir.
Wular is the largest lake of Kashmir and a flood basin which has witnessed massive encroachment during the last few decades.
The massive encroachment has its adverse impact on the health of the lake including decline in the fish population and quality of the water.
As per official note, Deputy Commissioners of Baramulla and Bandipora, the divisional administration has noticed that a major portion of the lake has been encroached upon.
Earlier the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took a strong note on the condition of the lake, particularly unscientific dumping of waste and encroachment around Wular Lake and has sought action plan from the Union Territory administration for each of the wetland within one month for further action in a time bound manner.
In response to the NGT directions, as per the official note, the Divisional administration has ordered that the matter of land under
cultivation may be taken so that action may be taken as per the NGT directions within 15 days.
“The matter of kamas be taken with rakhs and farms so that action regarding the cultivation shall be taken as per NGT directions within 15 days,” Divisional Commissioner PK Pole ordered concerned DCs.
Earlier, the J & K government had constituted a Joint Action Committee (JAC) for re-verifying the boundaries of the water body.
Nearly 30 hectares of the water body has been encroached upon by residents living along the banks of the Wular in the past three decades
Wular Conservation & Management Authority (WUCMA) officials said that the dredging of the lake had started last year amid the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the union territory (UT).
The project was awarded to a Kolkata-based dredging company to increase the water-holding capacity of the lake, which is considered one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Asia.