Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday flagged off ‘Athwas’, a unique partnership between citizens and authorities for the rejuvenation of Srinagar’s iconic Dal Lake.
Underscoring that effective community participation is vital to develop and conserve ecological heritage, the Lt Governor said that de-weeding and dredging will be conducted in collaboration with the citizens.
The Lt Governor further observed that dedicated efforts have been initiated in the last two years to clean Dal Lake, and for conservation and protection of other water bodies across J&K. In this year’s budget, Rs 373 crore has been allocated for development and conservation of Dal and Nageen lakes, he said.
The Lt Governor noted that for the first time in history, a successful campaign is being run with active public participation to clean Dal Lake. “The de-weeding campaign which was started last year was very successful; now we will add new cleaning machines to the existing fleet and start dredging work on the western side to restore 60,000 Sq metre area”, he added.
On the conservation of Wular Lake, the Lt Governor said that a walkway is proposed to be built along the Lake which will enhance the beauty of Wular as also help in preventing encroachment along it.
“Our aim is to revive the historical and cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir and the lakes here are invaluable part of that heritage”, the Lt Governor underscored.
The Lt Governor said that with the inspiration and encouragement of Prime Minister, people of the UT are determined to preserve the natural wealth of Jammu Kashmir.
The Lt Governor further said that for three decades, Khushalsar Lake had dried up and turned into a sewage dump, and it was only after the significant partnership of administration and people, the lake has been rejuvenated and returned to its original form. Prime Minister has also appreciated the efforts of the people of Srinagar and the district administration for the initiative, he added.
“This year, we aim to revive 3600 water bodies in different parts of the UT. I call upon all stakeholders, PRIs and departments to join hands with a resolve to save our natural wealth with collaborative efforts”, the Lt Governor said.
Earlier, the Lt Governor along with Mayor SMC, Junaid Azim Mattu; DDC Chairman Srinagar, Aftab Malik; senior officers and volunteers participated in the Dal cleaning drive.
In his welcome address, Vice Chairman, LCMA, Bashir Ahmad Bhat gave a brief introduction about the ATHWAS Dal cleaning drive.