No shrinkage in water expanse of Dal Lake: Jora

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Oct 8: Minister for Urban Development and Urban Local Bodies, Nawang Rigzin Jora while presenting a comparison report of the measurements carried out by Sir Walter R. Lawrence in 1895 and the latest available data including satellite imaginary said that there has been no shrinkage in the area of the Dal and Nageen lakes, rather the water expanse of the lake has increased due to massive dredging carried out under the Dal and Nageen Conservation and Management Project.
The Minister was replying to calling attention notice by Ajatshatru Singh in the Legislative Council today.
The Minister said that floating gardens and vegetable farms have existed in the lake all along as per the measurements carried out by Sir Walter Lawrence in 1895, adding that trees have always been in the lake forming a part of the lake eco-system by acting as off takes of nutrients from the lake waters called Phyto Remediation and breeding areas of fish.
However, the Minister said that the population of these trees in the lake if unchecked can result in adverse impact on the lake eco-system and the same is monitored regularly. He said that under the orders of the High Court as many as 1.50 lakh trees were removed during 2006-07 by the State Forest Corporation.
The Minister further informed the House that as per the water chemistry analysis of Dal-Nageen lake carried out by National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), in 2012, it was concluded that 81% of the lake is under good water quality, 17% is under medium water quality and only 2% of the lake area falls under bad water quality.
Giving details about the progress under Dal-Nageen Lakes Conservation and Management Project, the Minister said that 5 Sewage Treatment Plants have already been commissioned with a total sewerage capacity of 36.7 MLD, adding that as many as 17000 houses have been connected with Sewage Treatment Plants. He said 28 lakh Cums of solid mass within the lake has been dredged out and on an average every year 1,00,000 Cum of wet weed is removed from Dal and Nageen lakes to increase the expanse and maintain clean water surface.
The Minister said that several steps have already been taken for the rehabilitation of the Dal dwellers and 8 colonies have been established, rehabilitating as many as 1800 families in these colonies. He said a major rehabilitation initiative is under way at Rakh-i-Arth spread over an area of 7526 kanals, adding that about 1900 structures are left in and around Dal Lake that are to be removed after payment of compensation.
The Minister said that the Lakes and Water Development Authority has recently formulated a conservation plan for Gillsar, Kushalsar and Anchar and submitted the same to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for sanction under the National Lake Conservation Programme (NLCP). The Project is, however, yet to be sanctioned by the Ministry, he added.