Srinagar: As the tourism industry has started to revive itself after the lockdowns, many nature lovers and stakeholders are worried about the lackadaisical attitude and inability of Lakes and Water Development Authorities (LAWDA) in deweeding the Dal Lake and continuous vandalism and littering of trekking areas by some uncivilized people.
Concerned about the pollution of Dal Lake, destruction of ecology and beauty of the health resorts like Pahalgam, Lidder Watt, Tarsar Marsar, Kolhi Glacier, Katrinag, Talyun, Sheshnag, due to increased human interferences and footfalls, the stakeholders have exhorted the concerned authorities to preserve and prevent the fragile ecology by initiating time bound action. Also, the deweeding machines of LAWDA are defunct in Dal Lake and the operators are asking for money to operate them.
“The Shikarawals are not able to paddle boats. At many places tents have been pitched. The daily footfall of visitors have increased, trekking tracks are littered with polythene. Trenches have been made in open fields to make lavatories,” said Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, a representative of Untied Tourism Forum (UTF) who is also environment cell in charge of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, (KCC&I).
According to him the Dal Lake has become floating garden and it conveys wrong message to tourists. He also urged government to take action against unregistered and unauthorized outside trekking companies who are not only running their trekking business illegally but destroying the fragile ecosystem of the area.
Taking cognizance of the environment degradation and halting of deweeding of Dal Lake, President KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, and General Secretary, Farooq Amin, have expressed concern on the grave issue. They urged the government to take cognizance of the matter and in order to protect the integrity of the environment and preserve the natural landscape, urged to enforce accountability on violators. They also requested government to provide basic facilities like dustbins to avoid littering and limit the number of trekkers.
Even the issue had been brought into the notice of Director Tourism but to no avail according to Manzoor Ahmad Pakthoon.
KCCI President and General-Secretary have requested the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta and commissioner secretary tourism Mr Sarmad Hafeez, to personally intervene into the matter and help in restoring the aesthetic beauty of Dal Lake and preserve the natural beauty of health resorts which are backbone of Tourism.
KCC&I appreciated and welcomed Lieutenant Governor’s campaign to make Srinagar polythene free and his suggestions to use cotton bags to curb polythene pollution. KCC&I expressed full support in government’s initiatives to preserve environment and increase forest cover to maintain ecological balance.
They also expressed concern at the divisional administrations revelations as over 640 kanals of the Wular Lake which is considered one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Asia has been encroached upon. They urged UT administration led by Manoj Sinha to take strong note on the condition of the lake, especially unscientific dumping of waste and encroachment around Wular Lake. They urged government to restore it to pristine glory and take serious note on the deterioration of environment.