Srinagar, Feb 27: Much to the joy and encouragement of the people as well as the civil administration who have taken up the work of restoring and rejuvenating almost-dead water bodies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded the public participation in cleaning major water bodies in Srinagar in his 86th episode of the radio broadcast, ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
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The PM said that with determination and will to bring about change, the people of Srinagar have taken up the task of cleaning the water bodies and have remained successful in achieving the same coupled with the technological help.
“Friends, once people are determined to do something together, they do wonderful things. There have been many such big changes in the society, in which public participation, collective effort, has played a significant role,” he said.
While referring to the restoration, cleaning of water bodies, ponds and springs in Srinagar, and particularly naming Khushal Sar and Gil Sar as one such example, the PM said one such mass movement named “Mission Jal Thal” is underway in Srinagar, Kashmir.
“This is a unique effort to clean the lakes and ponds of Srinagar and restore their old glory. The focus of “Mission Jal Thal” is on “Khushal Sar” and “Gil Sar,” he said.
He added that along with public participation, a lot of help from technology is also being taken in this. “To find out where there has been encroachment, where illegal construction has taken place, a formal survey of this area was carried out,” he said in the radio broadcast.
It is to be noted here that for the last over a year now, Nigeen Lake Conservation Organization (NLCO), headed by Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, the administration, with the help of other concerned departments such as J&K Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA), Irrigation & Flood Control and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), have taken up the task of cleaning the major water bodies in Srinagar—which were on the brink of death.
The concerted and joint efforts have led to success, bringing, first, Khushal Sar, back to glory, while as currently, efforts are on for the restoration of Gil Sar and other water bodies.
With the restoration of Khushal Sar and with the same being in process in Gil Sar, the joint efforts have also resulted in the restoration of the traditional navigation routes starting from Dal lake.
Earlier, NLCO had also carried out a sustained campaign to clean famous Nigeen lake and was successful in doing that, which then paved a way for the restoration of other nearby water bodies with the help of the administration.
Modi focused that local people are also taking efforts for increasing the number of migratory birds and fish in “Gil Sar Lake” and are also happy to see it. “My heartiest congratulations to the people of Srinagar for this wonderful effort,” he said.
“It is a moment of pride for all the Green Ambassadors who joined hands with Mission Ehsaas by NLCO for rejuvenation of Gil Sar and Khushal; with PM acknowledging the contribution, our responsibilities have increased now,” Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo told Excelsior.
Wangoo also expressed gratitude to P.K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir for support along with SMC Commissioner Athar Aamir Khan and VC, LCMA Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Sarmad Hafeez and G.N. Itoo from the Tourism Department.
Further, the PM also said that along with the efforts being made to restore the water bodies (in Srinagar), a campaign to remove plastic waste and clean up the waste was also launched. “In the second phase of the mission, a lot of effort was also made to restore the old water channels and 19 springs filling the lake,” he said.
He said that to spread more awareness about the importance of this Restoration Project, “local people and youth were also made Water Ambassadors.”
He underlined that the ‘Clean India Mission’ started by the country eight years ago, with time, “it expanded manifold… new innovations were also added. Wherever you go in India, you will find that some effort is being made for cleanliness everywhere,” he said.
In this regard, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Aijaz Asad also congratulated the people of Srinagar. “Mission Jal Thal for restoration/rejuvenation of Khushal Sar and Gil Sar Lakes mentioned by the PM in #MannKiBaat . Congratulations to people of Srinagar for their sterling community participation…,” he tweeted.
Commissioner, SMC Athar Amir Khan termed joint efforts aiming at the restoration of the water bodies as a great example of participation and tweeted: “The rejuvenation of Khushalsar, Gil Sar Lakes & the Kutkul is a great example of how civil society & govt together can make things happen… Srinagar Municipal Corporation, I&FC, LCMA, Revenue Dept worked together. SMC lifted 1176 trucks of muck & silt from these.”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for highlighting the extraordinary efforts of ‘Mission Jal Thal’, and applauded the people and Srinagar district administration for exhibiting deep cultural sensitivity to the environment.
“Grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for highlighting Srinagar’s ‘Mission Jal Thal’. Our beautiful lakes are inextricably linked with the history, culture and customs of the country. Excellent work by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Aijaz Asad and team for reversing degradation of natural inheritance,” the Lt Governor said.
“Our civilisational history is rooted in the rivers and lakes. Protection of these environmental resources in J&K UT is integral to our development programmes. The devastation wrought by the encroachment in several lakes and rivers is the major challenge. I urge everyone to preserve the life-sustaining systems. For the sake of future generations, we have to strengthen the ecological integrity,” said the Lt Governor.