The administration headed by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has been working to speed up development across various sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. For this the administration is pursuing back to villages scheme to ensure that development and growth of the core areas in villages witnesses a boost.
However, one important issue the administration is missing out is the missing out of various important projects that have a long term bearing on the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir.
One such issue that needs immediate attention is the famed Dal lake. The Lake is dying and it is not encroachments that is killing the lake but an unresponsive and callous administration which is not doing its job to help maintain the quality of water in the lake.
The negligence shown by the administration and the department of Lakes and Waterways has resulted in the waters turning so polluted that it can spell death for the lake within years.
What is shocking is that a Committee of Experts, constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court last year, has found Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) heavily over-utilized and under-maintained and their effluent far below the required standards as laid down in the Central Pollution Control Board norms.
After the unabated flow of sewage into the Dal Lake which drastically affected the flora and fauna of this water body, the J&K Government had decided to construct STPs around the lake to save it from further deterioration. This happened in the year 2000 and since then the sewage is pumped into the lake via these STP’s.
Presently, three STPs are functioning under the control of LAWDA and they are located at Lamb—4.5 MLD, Habak—3.5 MLD and Hazratbal—7.5 MLD.
However, what is appalling to note is that about 70% of the sewage generated in Srinagar City finds its way into the Lake. The three STPs functioning under the control of LAWDA are heavily over-utilized and under-maintained. The effluent generated by these STP’s is far below the required standards as laid down in the CPCB norms.
What is more ironic is that none of the STPs are conducting any tests as regards the treated effluents, notwithstanding the fact that it is a statutory requirement that each STP should test the treated effluent quality before being released into the lake. Now that the CoE has intervened, a laboratory has now been set up and regular tests of incoming sewage and treated effluent are being carried out. But this will not ease out the situation as much damage has already been done.
The Dal Lake is an icon for Kashmir. The famed lake is thronged by tourists and the same lake attracts them in hoards every year. The significance and the impact this Lake has on the local economy too cannot be ignored.
However, what is lacking is the understanding that should have been already set in the minds of those who frame the policies and rules that lay an impact on the places like the Dal Lake. The lake needs immediate attention and support from experts and consultants for drafting a well laid out plan to secure its restoration.
This plan should be implemented without making any political statements and choices as the issue needs to be dealt with utmost professional precision and accuracy.