The Bold Voice of J&K

Famous for its fresh water decades ago, Brari Nambal lagoon is in very poor condition

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: The unabated encroachment on the lagoon and the inordinate delay in the conservation of the water body is severely affecting its fragile ecosystem. Once known for crystal clear waters, today the Brari Nambal are heaps of garbage and weeds. In absence of conservation measures, the lagoon is now on the verge of extinction with unabated pollution and extensive encroachments. The Baba Demb area of Srinagar has for years remained in news for illegal dumping and filling of BrariNambal lagoon and the construction of illegal structures.
According to experts, the lagoon is dying silently as encroachments and illegal constructions in the area continue to go unabated. The State Times Correspondent carried out multiple visits to the area to assess the current situation and found that scores of kiosks had come up where both locals and non-locals were putting up and indulging in commercial activities. It was found that the dumping of material in the lagoon was going on under the nose of the authorities.
With the civil society and the stakeholders raising concern over the dying water bodies and wetlands in Kashmir region.
Last year the then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, P K Pole assured that the government was adopting a “multipronged strategy” to revive the Brari Nambal lagoon to its pristine glory and government has kept around Rs 40 crore budget to uplift this dying water body.For that purpose administration is having consultative meetings with the stakeholders and a roadmap is being devised to start working on the plan”.
According to experts, to revive any vital water body, people’s participation and their active role is important, Brari Nambal lagoon has been left unattended and people also have shown an adverse role. So, the time has come when a strategy is to be developed to get this important water body back to its pristine glory, but till date no concrete majors are being carried out for safety of this old and famous lagoon.
BrariNambal is considered to be ecologically important as it helps regulate the hydrology of Dal Lake by releasing its surplus waters into River Jhelum via a conduit at Fateh Kadal. Before the 1970s, Brari Nambal had two outlets, one on the west side and the other on the north from Nallah Maar. During the 1970s, Nallah Mar was earth-filled and converted into a road, severely affecting the water body’s hydrology through loss of flushing capacity.
Locals said that despite many anti encroachment drives, illegal dwellings were coming up in the area affecting the ecological balance as well. There have been many drives against the encroachment but still one can see the area dotted with these structures used for various purposes.
Earlier, the Enforcement Wing of the Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA) launched a spontaneous demolition drive in Baba Demb. During the drive, many tin sheds and wooden structures were demolished. However, the ground visits carried out by Correspondent revealed that the area is still dotted with countless tin sheds and wooden structures. Due to the immense ecological importance of BrariNambal, its restoration is a litmus test for the government.
According to officials of LCMA that they were continuously carrying out anti-encroachment drives to ensure that no structure was set up in the area.”We don’t have jurisdiction over the full area of Brari Nambal. However, we are looking into the area under our jurisdiction.

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