Dilapidated approach road creating miseries for Dal dwellers

A view of dilapidated road near Moti Mohalla. -Excelsior/Shakeel
A view of dilapidated road near Moti Mohalla. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Feb 13:  As the Government has failed to effectively implement the resettlement plan for population from interiors of Dal Lake, 40, 000 people who are living inside the water body  are facing immense hardships due to the dilapidated approach road which affects their access to basic facilities and ban on repairs of their houses.
In order to connect the interiors areas of Dal Lake, the Government in 2012 allotted four kilometers approach road from Rainawari to Moti Mohalla. With a project cost of nearly Rs 140 lakh, the road was supposed to be completed in one year but was left mid-way.
“This is the only road which enables us access to basic necessities: our food comes through it, children go to school by it and we get health care through it. By not providing us road connectivity, the Government is denying us the basic amenities of life as guaranteed by the Constitution”, said Showkat Hussain Rano, a resident of Mir Behri, said.
He further said Government’s resettlement policy had been lingering on for decades now and has not been materialised properly. “If the Government feels we are the reason for the deterioration of Dal and thinks our resettlement will help the cause why are they moving at snail’s pace. The speed with which the restoration and rehabilitation measures envisaged under the “Conservation and Management of Dal” are going on; it will take them another hundred years to resettle us. What will we do till then? Die here!” said Showkat.
The residents pointed out that the families who have been lured in the name of resettlement have been shifted to a cesspool at Rakh-e-Arth in Bemina wherein they are finding hard to battle it out.
Under the project, 2000 plots were supposed to be allocated to the Dal dwellers shifted from the Dal. But, so far, just 200-300 families have been shifted and they are accusing Government of playing politics over the grave issue of the environment.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lakes and Water Ways Development Authority (LAWDA) Ghulam Rasool Wani said in order to conserve the prized Dal Lake the High Court has put a blanket ban on any sort of construction in these areas.
“Within the radius of 200 meters court has restricted the construction. We have to execute things and if the residents want any respite they have to knock at the doors of court. We cannot help them with this,” he said. Asked when they are going to complete the process of rehabilitation and resettlement, he said: “It depends on the flow of funds. There is a comprehensive plan for their rehabilitation which needs timely funding to get materialised on time”.
“So far, we have received just two installments and the pace of work is directly proportional to the release of funds. Lots of things are yet to be done. It is a comprehensive plan wherein every basic need like health care, education and electricity will be provided. But it all depends on the flow of funds,” he said.