Jewel in the crown
Mehrajud Din Malla
Manasbal Lake is situated in Safapora area of District Ganderbal about 30 kilometres nearly North-West side to Srinagar. The name MANASBAL is said to be derived of lake ManSorovar Lake is and encircled by four villages Kondabal, Jarokbal, Nesbal and Gratbal.
It is the stated to be the deepest freshwater Lake in the Asia and known worldwide for its beauty, fresh water. It is also one of the high altitude lakes on the course of Jhelum River in Jammu and Kashmir.
The presence of Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera) at the periphery of lake blooming during (July and August) adds to the beauty of the crystal clear water of the Lake. The Mughal garden called Jarokabagh built by (NurJahhan) overlooks the Lake.
The Lake is good place for bird watching as it is one of the largest nature stumping grounds of aquatic birds in Kashmir and has earned the Sobriquet of “Supreme Gem of AsianLakes”.
Apart from the Mughal Gardens and Jharogabagh Fort, there are many orchards on the bank of this lake, apple orchards, Chinar tree grooves and agricultural grounds in the catchment areas add to its beauty. A unique eighth century submerged stone Temple was discovered by the Tourism Authorities in 2007 near the Lake.
Besides its beauty this Lake is also the source of income for the local population as rootstocks of lotus plants (NelumboNucifera ) are harvested, eaten and marketed by local population it is also the source of the livelihood for local Shikara riders and fisherman’s.
Apart from its beauty there are some serious facts whom to which respective authorities should take necessary steps. As the lake is known for its fresh water but at the same moment it’s fresh water content is diminishing day by day.
According to local population they were using this water for drinking, cooking and for other essential purposes which they were taking from its banks (Yarbal) but nowadays maximum portion of water near to its banks (Yarbal) has been polluted and is not safe for drinking, cooking. The growth of phytoplankton, microphytes ,unwanted weeds has led to Eutrophication and was recorded and confirmed by test results.
Ceratophyllm Demersum recorded increase in lake area. Decrease in species diversity in lake has occurred , increase in period of Anionic land and Accumulation of H2s in deeper waters has been reported
According to World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) 1997 survey says flow of sewage, fertilizers from adjoining agricultural field, Siltation due to noxious run off from adjoining field, large scale garbage dumping sites has led 80% of lake under its thick blanket of weed infestation which didn’t allow boats to run on it.
Instead of constructing footpaths on its banks, same money should be consumed for the uplifting of people from its adjoining areas as these are the sources of pollution to this lake. There is lack of infrastructure and stating resorts so the tourists who are visiting there don’t suffer they can stay there over night which would be beneficial for the people whose livelihoods are dependent on this. Some positive measures have to be taken by Wular Manasbal Development Authority to conserve the Gem of Asian Lakes.
(The author is a freelance writer hailing from district Ganderbal. He is pursuing a course in Journalism from central university of Kashmir)