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Admin to remove encroachments in Wular Lake to restore it’s lost glory

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar Nov 12 (KINS): Administration has decided to remove the encroachments in and around Wular Lake to restore it’s lost glory.

The encroachments and shrinking of Wular Lake, Asia’s largest freshwater body, has resulted in depleted fish stocks causing distress among hundreds of fishermen families living in and around the lake.

The massive encroachment has its adverse impact on the health of the lake including decline in the fish population and quality of the water.

A senior official of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said the Wular Lake which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to a host of factors.

“Several surveys have found gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, choking of waterways and reduction in capacity of wet lands due to heavy siltation posing an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour,” the official told news agency KINS.

The official said the administration has decided to remove all the encroachments in and around the lake to restore its lost glory. “A process has already been started in this regard,” the official added.

The administration has also asked the WUCMA to prepare a comprehensive action plan on restoration of Wular Lake.

Wular, which is the largest lake of the valley and a flood basin, has witnessed massive encroachment for the last many decades. From paddy plantation to willow and now constructions, the lake’s areas had reduced to nearly 130 sq km.

The lake that produces varieties of fish, water chestnuts and fodder besides serving as a habitat for migratory water birds, provides livelihood to over 30,000 households in over three dozen villages surrounding it for generations.

Large parts of the lake are covered with silt, polythene and other solid waste. While some varieties of fish have disappeared over the years, many others, experts say, are endangered.

A 2018 study by Agro Economist, an international science journal, said in the last 100 years, the lake has shrunk by 45 per cent from 157.74 square kilometres (60.9 square miles) in 1911 to 86.71 square kilometres (33.48 square miles) in 2007.

Mohammad Subhan, who lives near the lake, said the quantity of fish and chestnuts has drastically dwindled in recent years. “Government needs to take some immediate measures to restore it’s lost glory,” he added. (KINS)

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