The Bold Voice of J&K

Deteriorated, polluted Bari Nambal Lake tarnishing beauty of Srinagar

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MASROOR AHMAD

SRINAGAR: Situated at the entrance of Shaher-e-Khaas in Srinagar, Brari Nambal was once known for crystal clear waters. It was one of the major tourist attractions in Kashmir. Before the 1970s, Brari Nambal had two outlets, one on the west side and the other on the north from Nallah Mar. During the 1970s, Nallah Mar had been converted into a road.
The lake stated deteriorating due to closure of the Nallah Mar outlet. Gradually, Brari Nambal’s hydrology started to affect and it lost flushing capacity. The water body is ecologically important as it helps to regulate hydrology of Dal Lake by releasing its surplus waters into river Jhelum via a conduit at Fateh Kadal area. During the past nearly three decades, BrariNambal has borne the brunt of official apathy and public greed. Absence of conservation measures increased unabated pollution and encroachments has pushed it on the verge of extinction. Major expanse of the lagoon has been swallowed by weeds and garbage dumps.
The lagoon has been extensively encroached upon from Baba Demb side. This side has been converted into a full-fledged market. Scavengers are openly dumping used items, plastics, steel, iron and paper on the vacant land on the banks of Brari Nambal.
Research conducted by Department of Environmental Science, Kashmir University states that Brari Nambal has lost over 10 hectares in the past over 40 years.
After spending crores of rupees to redevelop and beautify the shore of BrariNambal Lake in Shehr-e-Khas, the authorities have miserably failed to bring visitors to the water body.
The beautification work, commissioned two years ago, is in a dilapidated condition, with wooden jetties meant for establishment of food courts wrecked on. Besides, the electric work done by the Lakes Conservation & Management Authority (LC&MA) is rooted out from its positions.
The Brari Nambal comes under the domain of Lakes Conservation & Management Authority (LC&MA) which dredged the lake, cleaned its boundaries from encroachments, constructed walkway from all sides, completed its fencing and stopped solid waste from adjoining areas.
For the past two years, The STATE TIMES has been highlighting the deplorable condition of the water body but no major step has been taken so far by the concerned authority to save this important reservoir.
After over three years, neither the LC&MA did enable the atmosphere of alluring visitors there nor ensured watch and ward of the developmental works involving expenditure of Rs 18 crore. Locals and the passersby have been expressing their strong displeasure over the official apathy, calling it “utter failure of the concerned department, which failed to stick to its commitments”. Apart from the damage, the Lake is currently producing massive foul smell in the area though summer is yet to come.
The locals allege that the execution of fresh developmental works was a “big loss” to the public exchequer, saying “The present status of the location depicts how executing agency allegedly swindled money in the name of beautification works, after which the site was not taken care of properly”.
Conservation of the lagoon, including dredging will be undertaken at a cost of Rs 16.91 crores under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), footpaths, kiosks and food courts will be constructed at a cost of Rs 8.05 crore. The LC&MA has spent millions of rupees in the recent past to ensure the aesthetic of lake besides making it a point of attention for visitors. But, according to experts, water circulation is important for conservation of Dal Lake and the lagoon.
“There is need to restore arteries of the Dal Lake for maintaining its hydrology. Conservation measures like dredging of Brari Nambal and other outflow channels will help to restore natural drainage of Dal Lake and improve its water quality”, the experts said.

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