Nature has bestowed Kashmir with limitless resources besides serene and scenic beauty. These resources not only add charm to the beauty of this land, but it is the lifeline and a source of sustenance for hundreds of families. Among these resources are the lakes, rivers and the pristine springs of the valley.
These water bodies are the home to hundreds of species of aquatic animals and birds, which have been immensely contributing to the socio-economic development of the fishermen community. Apart from this, our water bodies have been a source of attraction for hundreds of thousands of tourists from all across the globe, thus providing employment opportunities to thousands of people in the valley directly or indirectly connected with the tourism industry.
This is an undeniable fact that our tourism has been running despite many odds only because of Dal, Nigeen and other lakes despite a tough time in the last thirty years or so. There was a time when the waters of Dal, Nigeen, Aanchar and Wular lakes were so pristine and sweet that people would use the water from lakes not only to cook but to cure many ailments like hepatitis. Like every other thing, we as a nation have left no stone unturned in spoiling these water bodies in whatever way we could. Dal lake had an area of thirty-five square kilometres at one point in time but, Alas! The lake has been rendered only a few square kilometres despite the fact that LCMA, previously lakes and waterways development authority has spent thousands of crores on its cleaning and restoration.
Previous national conference government had framed a policy for the dal dwellers to be relocated so that the constructions around the lake are demolished and the glory of the lake is restored. The unfortunate part of the story is that the Dal dwellers took possession of the plots of land provided to them but didn’t vacate the area. Even the then government didn’t bother to vacate them for they feared they may lose their vote bank.
Khushalsar is about to extinct and become history. The current dispensation is watching the decimation of this water body as a mute spectator. We seldom see the swarms of migratory birds in and around Hokarsar as encroachments have rendered this water body into a residential colony and nobody seems bothered. It is high time Govt. acts on the promises of conserving these water bodies or it will be too late.