Rehabilitation plan for Dal lake dwellers
Jan 25, 2007 - 2:57:43 PM
Jammu, Jan 25 - At least 1,230 families living on Srinagar's Dal lake will soon be shifted out by the Jammu and Kashmir government in a bid to save the water body.
The government, which earmarked Rs.1.9 billion for the rehabilitation project, has sought an additional Rs.3.2 billion for the lake's development.
The dwellings of the people on the land filled portions of the lake - Srinagar's most popular tourist attraction - will be dismantled to make way for the lake waters to reach their original shore, according to Housing and Urban Development Minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal.
'The government will rehabilitate 1,230 families of Dal dwellers,' Afzal said at the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly late Wednesday. The government has selected 400 acres on Srinagar city's outskirts for the rehabilitation.
The lake has shrunk to almost half its original size - over 20 sq km - because of the land filling, where the people have constructed their houses.
The minister refuted opposition National Conference's charge that the government had adopted an indifferent attitude toward the Dal Lake and other water bodies.
Some legislators referred to the pathetic conditions of the Wullar Lake, Asia's biggest fresh water lake. They also complained that most water bodies were polluted and being allowed to be encroached upon.
Promising all necessary steps to preserve water bodies, Afzal said: 'Those are part of our heritage.'
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