Govt sits idle on shifting of Dal dwellers

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A shikara droves through Dal lake on a hot sunny day in Srinagar. Pic by Zargar Zahoor

By Ovais Gull

Srinagar: There seems no headway over the shifting of Dal dwellers to other designated place as authorities have failed to expedite the rehabilitation process.

Earlier, the High Court in September last year appointed a three-member expert committee to file a comprehensive report on Dal Lake and suggest measures for its conservation.

The committee on March 17 this year held a meeting with Dr E Shridaran, Principal Advisor Committee of Experts on chair, directing the process of rehabilitation should be completed within the duration of 12 to 15 months.

However, the authorities have so far failed to come with a strategy to shift the Dal dwellers to Rakh-e-Arth as the dwellers as per sources are reluctant to shift to the government designated place.

Official sources told The INS that over 1100 structures were acquired by the authorities under the relocation and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers.

Reportedly, LAWDA had prepared plots for Dal dwellers to be shifted to Rakh-e-Arth colony at Bemina in 2007 with an aim to clear interiors of Dal Lake for its conservation by or before 2010. However, the project to shift dwellers was delayed for a long.

Official sources informed The INS that most of these dwellers are showing reluctance to shift to the Rakh-e-Arth for certain reasons that include less compensation and place of shifting.

Following their reluctance, the authorities have explored new options including land at Shalimar and Bagh-e-Chandpora, sources said, adding that search for options had come as Dal dwellers were reluctant to shift to Rakh-e-Arth and insisted for identification of land “contiguous to Dal for their rehabilitation”, which would keep their livelihood intact and also ward off the “cultural shock” of the resettlement.

They informed that the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan recently chaired a high-level meeting attended by various top officers to explore new options during which it was decided that land identified at Rakh-e-Arth would be “utilised for shifting of floating gardens so that the livelihood of the affected persons in kept intact”.

The meeting as per the reliable sources decided to identify land at Shalimar for acquisition and also initiate acquisition process at Bagh-e-Chandpora village.


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