Do we deserve this lake?

  • Mohammad Tazeem
  • Publish Date: Aug 5 2018 10:08PM
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  • Updated Date: Aug 5 2018 10:08PM
Do we deserve this lake?

The Dal Lake is the second largest lake in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir. It is called the jewel in the crown of Kashmir. The lake is also an important source of commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.

For Kashmiris, the Dal is part of our identity and has a special place in our hearts. It might not be the largest but it is the most famous lake of the state and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

There is a whole new world out there, the butcher shops, the vegetable shops, shops selling gorgeous handicrafts, people selling chai, coffee and specially the kehwa on the boats, children boating off to schools, on-boat photographers ready to shoot amazing pictures of you and if the heat is too hot to handle you can buy some ice-creams and softies on the go as well.

The Dal can’t be described in words. The experience you have here is quite astonishing and indescribable. Every time you visit here you fall in love with this place more and more. It simply is a delight for the eyes and the soul. There is a local saying which proclaims that the water of Dal Lake has the ability to cool down any boiling tension in the air.

It is the source of income for hundreds and thousands of people. The shikara owners, the houseboat owners, the shopkeepers, etc.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, receives lakhs of tourists every year regardless of the happenings in this part of the world, most of which have the Dal Lake on top of their to-visit list. Over 13 lakh tourists visited Srinagar in 2015 alone.

A few decades ago the Dal water was so clean and crystal clear that one could see the bottom of the lake. This water was even drinkable.

A few days ago I was going through twitter and was shocked to see pictures of some amarnath pilgrims peeing in the Dal Lake. These pilgrims are our guests and we welcome them to Kashmir with all our heart but this act was disgraceful and completely unacceptable. It is not just the pilgrims but the locals are also responsible for acts like these. The continuous and never ending flow of wastes into the lake from locals is a bigger concern. The lake which once covered 75 square kilometres has shrunk to just 12 square kilometres, mostly in the last thirty years. Its depth has also come down. In certain parts of the lake, algae growth has made the water green. Excessive exploitation of Dal Lake by locals has hampered it significantly 

According to the Project Report prepared by the University of Roorkee’s Alternate Hydro Energy Centre, the sewage brings with it nitrogen and phosphorus which has changed physical and chemical properties of Dal waters. And it is a grave sign of dangers the Dal faces.

Massive investments are being made by the government to save and restore the lake to its original magnificence but if things stay like this, I’m afraid nothing much is going to happen. The Government needs to take some steps and be observant in how they approach the worried situation and must ensure that the violators of the lake are severely punished.