SRINAGAR: Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam chaired 16th Monitoring Committee meeting on preservation of Dal-Nageen Lake, constituted under the directions of the High Court in 2015.
Director General Police, Dr S P Vaid; Financial Commissioner Housing & Urban Development, KB Agarwal; Principal Secretary Finance, Navin K Choudhary; Principal Secretary Planning, Rohit Kansal; IGP Kashmir, SP Pani; Commissioner Secretary Forests, Saurabh Bhagat; Commissioner Secretary, PWD, Khurshid Ahmad; Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan; Secretary Tourism, Rigzian Sampheal; Secretary Law, Abdul Majid; Vice-Chairman LAWDA, Dr Abdul Hafeez; Commissioner SMC, Peerzada Hafizullah; Chief Engineer R&B Kashmir, Sami Aarif and other concerned officers were present at the meeting.
Chief Secretary observed that conservation and restoration of Dal-Nageen Lakes is among the top priority areas of the Governor’s Administration and the Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech this year, has also emphasized upon the necessity for the conservation of this important water body.
Vice-Chairman LAWDA briefed the Committee about the latest recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) held on 20.08.2018 regarding assessment of pesticides in Dal Lake, vegetation mapping, composting of Dal weeds, scientific extracting of macrophytes and lily patches, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of four-laning of the Boulevard and Western Foreshore Road, Vision Document on Dal Lake prepared by IIT Roorkee and the proposed DPR by Dredging Corporation of India (DCI). The ATR of 15thMonitoring Committee meeting was also presented which included the progress on formulation of strong legislation for preservation of all water bodies, expeditious development of Rakh-e-Arth, Geo tagging of structures within 200 meter periphery of Dal-Nageen Lake, demarcation of Lake boundary, installation of CCTV surveillance, strengthening of Enforcement Wing, land acquisition in Dole Dem area, procurement and hiring of Lake cleaning machinery and intensification of anti-encroachment drives.
After extensive deliberations, the Monitoring Committee set a roadmap for undertaking immediate target-oriented conservation measures for the restoration of the pristine glory of Dal Lake within specified timelines.
It was decided that the macrophyte infestation including expansion of lily patches in open water expanse of Dal Lake shall be cleared by the end of December 2018 for which the VC, LAWDA was authorized to increase the number of boats to 1000 and skilled labours deployed for the activity to be increased to 2000. This will raise the clearance of weed area to 4 ha/day which translates into 1.2 Sq. Kms/month. This means that in 3 months, almost 5 Sq. Kms of Dal will be cleared.
The process of installation of holding tanks/bio-digesters for 900 houseboats will begin immediately and will be completed by 30thNovember, 2018.
In order to facilitate the rehabilitation process of dwellers, the J&K Housing Board was authorized to initiate the construction of 13000 3BHK flats at Rakh-e-Arth through cost recovery mechanism under PPP mode and 7,500 2BHK flats at Chandpora, Harwan specifically for Dal dwellers on cross subsidized basis. For this purpose, a fresh socio-economic survey of Dal dwellers residing in the 58 hamlets of Dal Lake shall be carried out by the Revenue Authorities under the supervision of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir. The survey shall be completed within 15 days and report submitted to the Housing & Urban Development Department.
The Public Works Department will immediately examine the alternatives for improving road, footpath and lighting in the entire stretch of Boulevard-NFR (17 Kms) and ensure the beautification of footpath and installation of heritage lights in consultation with LAWDA and in accordance with court orders. VC, LAWDA was directed to expedite the Environment Impact Assessment of four lanning of Boulevard and western foreshore (WFR) which is being carried out by NEERI, Nagpur.
The Monitoring Committee endorsed the recommendation of Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) that Dredging Corporation of India should make a presentation of their project proposal in the next meeting of SAC.
Secretary Law was directed to seek comments of other departments in finalization of the legislation relating to conservation of water bodies in the state.
Chief Secretary in his concluding remarks stressed upon taking up the activities relating to conservation of the Lake in a mission mode for tangible outcome.