In Srinagar, Mission Jal Thal revives Khushal Sar lake once awash in trash to its prinstine beauty

In Srinagar, Mission Jal Thal revives Khushal Sar lake once awash in trash to its prinstine beauty

A water canal going towards Khushal Sar lake in Srinagar. Image courtesy Ajaz Rashid

In the 86th episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the efforts of the administration of Jammu and Kashmir led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and the civil society of Kashmir for the restoration of Khushal Sar. The lake is situated in the heart of downtown Srinagar which, at its best, extends from Zoonimar to Aali Kadal.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration took up the restoration of Khushal Sar last year under ‘Mission Jal Thal’. The administration picked a double-edged sword to weed out the issues that had brought the lake to the brink of death. While technology was used to check encroachments and landfill sites choking the lake, residents living along its banks were appointed as water ambassadors or guardians of the lake.

“Friends, once people take up a responsibility collectively, they do wonderful things. We have seen many big changes taking place in which public participation and collective efforts played a significant role,” PM Modi said, referring to the ‘Mission Jal Thal’.

“This is an extraordinary effort to clean the lakes and ponds of Srinagar and restore their old glory. ‘Mission Jal Thal’ focuses on ‘Khushal Sar’ and ‘Gil Sar’. With public participation and a lot of help from technology, encroachment and illegal construction are being identified, and a formal survey is being carried out (to restore the lakes to their original size),” Prime Minister Modi said in his monthly radio broadcast.

In Srinagar, Mission Jal Thal revives Khushal Sar lake once awash in trash to its prinstine beauty

The Gil Sar lake in Srinagar. Image courtesy Ajaz Rashid

Khushal Sar was once a thriving ecosystem connecting Nigeen Lake via Nallah Amir Khan, Anchar Lake and Gil Sar. The narrow strait connecting Khushal Sar with Gil Sar (which merges with Nigeen Lake) is spanned by a bridge called Gil Kadal. According to reports, Mar Canal or Nallamar, which provided water navigation till Ganderbal via Anchar Lake, drained into Khushal Sar.

In Srinagar, Mission Jal Thal revives Khushal Sar lake once awash in trash to its prinstine beauty

The Anchar lake. Image courtesy Ajaz Rashid

Khushal Sar and Gil Sar were the primary sources of water for the inhabitants living around these water bodies. However, the people were using tap water supply for drinking purposes, but the rest of the daily uses included washing clothes, bathing and washing utensils etc. “The water in Gil Sar and Khushal was so clean that people in these areas were going for the ablution of prayers to these places,” said a noted writer and historian Zareef Ahmad Zareef and added, “The entire Srinagar City had been facilitated with tap water supply for drinking purpose in 1892 by Maharaja Pratap Singh, but people used the water from these water bodies for their daily purposes.”

Like other natural water bodies in Kashmir, the Gil Sar and Khushal Sar had great importance in Srinagar City. The locals living nearby Gil Sar and Khushal Sar termed the deterioration of the water bodies as the ignorance of concerned authorities. “I remember the days when I used to swim in the crystal clear water of Gil Sar,” said Abdul Majeed Bhat, 55, of Zunimar. He said that the growing population and uncontrolled construction resulted in the deterioration of water bodies in Srinagar.

“The people directly drained their sewage and other waste products in Gil Sar, Khushal Sar and other such water bodies and made the water totally useless for daily purposes,” said Majeed.

However, call it the negligence of successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir, their apathy or perhaps their wilful complicity to feed the land sharks, the Mar Canal was filled, which started the process of deterioration of Khushal Sar and Gil Sar lakes, depriving the city of one of its most precious water bodies which added to its aura and heritage.

“The deterioration of Khushal Sar also affected the livelihood of people who lived along their banks. We involved locals in the restoration efforts because they have a direct stake in the preservation of Khushal Sar. The government officials can’t keep watch 24/4, but locals can,” said Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, president of Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO), a nonprofit.

In December 2020, Wangnoo, who played a crucial role in bringing locals and government departments together, was struck by the idea of cleaning up Khushal Sar, which had become a source of perpetual stink in the areas around the lake. It was during a byte recorded by the state-broadcaster Doordarshan that the ‘Ehsaas’ of restoring the water body lit up in him.

As the spring arrived in 2021, truckloads of animal carcasses, polythene bags, cement sacks, plastic items, and other garbage were making their way out of the lake. Once the cleaning was done, Wangnoo knocked the doors of the Srinagar administration along with his local volunteers. They asked for mechanical and other help in dredging Khushal Sar, whose waters were stagnant due to a heavy accumulation of muck at the river bed.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Pole, who has personally inspected the restoration work a number of times, as well as the Srinagar administration led by Deputy Commissioner Aijaz Asad were keen on the project. Wangnoo hired a water master, which floats on the water surface to remove the muck on the river bed from the open market. At the same time, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation provided manpower and trucks for driving away the garbage.

Moved by the work done by locals with the help of Wangnoo’s NLCO, the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended the restoration project to include Gil Sar as well. The objective is to reverse the degradation of two of the most important water bodies of Srinagar. The project envisages retrieving all the 22 live springs inside Khushal Sar and Gil Sar lakes.

Although the twin lakes have undergone remarkable changes in just one year, the government needs to devise plans to prevent the flow of garbage and other pollutants into them again. Locals claim that Nallah Amir Khan and Gil Sar are the biggest contributors of pollutants to the lake, which needs to be stopped. Besides, there is a need for adequate waterways to improve the water quality of Khushal Sar.

In Srinagar, Mission Jal Thal revives Khushal Sar lake once awash in trash to its prinstine beauty

Another view of the Gil Sar lake. Image courtesy Ajaz Rashid

According to officials, more than 60 kanals of the lake have been restored, and its effects have started to become visible. After a gap of more than 30 years, migratory birds returned to the lakes this year. The government is also in the process of starting lotus stem cultivation in the lake in the coming days.

”Once the restoration work is completed, the Tourism Department has developed a viewpoint at Gilkadal to attract tourists and to make the place a tourist hub. The ultimate vision is to revive the Ancient Water Circuit in Kashmir from Dal to Wular Lake with the objective of converting it into a National Waterway,” said LG Sinha.

The history of humankind is linked to the history of water bodies. Ancient civilisations are known to have settled along the banks of rivers because they not only provided them with water for drinking and other purposes but also sustained their way of life.

“Protection of these environmental resources in Jammu and Kashmir UT is integral to our development programmes. The major challenge is the devastation wrought by the encroachment on several lakes and rivers. I urge everyone to preserve the life-sustaining systems. For the sake of future generations, we have to strengthen the ecological integrity,” said the Lt Governor.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

T-Squared: The latest batch of confirmed speakers at #TribFest22

Jen Psaki, Michael McCaul, Andy Roddick, Asha Rangappa, Henry Cuellar, Mayra Flores, Joe Kahn, Joe Straus, Alexis McGill Johnson, Eva Guzman and James Carville are among the big names we’ve added to our amazing program. Read more »

Government payment dates: When £650 cost of living payment, council tax rebate and energy support will be paid

The Chancellor confirmed the introduction of a ‘windfall tax’ on energy giants, doubled the existing £200 energy rebate and unveiled a £650 payment for some of the nation’s poorest households Read more »

Republicans should be careful: The Bible has precious little to say about abortion

As an academic specialising in the Bible in contemporary culture, I was puzzled – and troubled – to see the biblical text employed to support anti-abortion laws and rhetoric Read more »

What the actual f**k is wrong with you quiz: personality test explained, how to take it and possible results

It’s that time of the week again – and it has users sharing their results on social media, unveiling “what the actual f**k” is wrong with them. This is everything ... Read more »

Wimbledon reviews Covid-19 protocols after Berrettini is forced out by virus

Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again later. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images Wimbledon’s Covid-19 protocols are under review after Matteo Berrettini was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon on the morning ... Read more »

Consumer expert Kate Hardcastle explains how she learned from her money mistakes

Kate Hardcastle says compassion is key to financial advice The television business guru Kate Hardcastle says she hasn’t always been savvy with her money – she spent ten years recovering ... Read more »

Refillable beauty brand offers 60% off sustainable summer-proof makeup

Want a new beauty product that doesn’t cost the earth? (Picture: Eye of Horus) Looking to replenish your clean beauty stores? Look no further than Eye of Horus, which offers ... Read more »

Kimberley Walsh’s quirky top-floor first home was her ‘princess tower’

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh bought her first home, an apartment in a converted hospital in North London, on her manager’s advice (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images) Girls Aloud may have ... Read more »

Venus Williams set for last-minute Wimbledon appearance with Jamie Murray in mixed doubles

Venus Williams has won the women’s doubles title six times (Picture: PA) Venus Williams is set for a last-minute Wimbledon appearance after requesting a wildcard to play alongside Great Britain’s ... Read more »

Glen Johnson labels Chelsea’s move for Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo as just a ‘commercial deal’

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 24 goals for Man Utd last season (Photo: Getty) Former Chelsea defender Glen Johnson has labelled the club’s reported attempt to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United ... Read more »

Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher died after suffering ‘aortic dissection’

Following his death on May 26, the band said there had been an “outpouring of love” for him. Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode (dpa/Alamy Live News) D epeche Mode’s keyboardist ... Read more »

Wimbledon first-day attendance low after officials predicted ‘record crowd’

Just over 36,603 spectators attended day one of Wimbledon 2022 – much lower than the 42,000 organisers had expected. Attendance on the first day of Wimbledon was markedly low despite ... Read more »

Migrants crossing the Channel double in past year

A man carries a distressed young child amongst a group of people thought to be migrants as they are brought in to Dover, Kent / PA M ore than 12,300 ... Read more »

A-Level Chemistry paper leak: dad says daughter left ‘devastated’ and ‘fuming’ over exam leak reports

A dad said his daughter was “devastated” after an exam was reportedly leaked online which could have helped thousands to cheat their way to top grades. Pupils up and down ... Read more »

Infected blood inquiry: what did John Major say about scandal that saw people contract HIV and Hepatitis C?

Up to 30,000 people contracted HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s after being given blood treatments or transfusions on the NHS. But how did the contaminated blood ... Read more »

Succession season 4 enters production —and HBO reveals first plot details

Succession season 4 is now filming Read more »

Aston Villa transfer news: Conor Gallagher fee 'about right' with Emi Buendia sale

The countdown is on for Saturday August 6 when Aston Villa visit Bournemouth in their new Premier League campaign. Boss Steven Gerrard looks set to have a new-look side ready ... Read more »

Maharashtra political crisis: PIL seeks FIR against Uddhav, Aaditya Thackeray and Raut for sedition

File image of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray. PTI Mumbai: A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the registration of an FIR against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, ... Read more »

The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri and producer Pallavi Joshi celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri has been crossing all the boundaries with his ‘Humanity Tour’, and is unstoppable in creating awareness amongst the citizens that he rose with his film The Kashmir ... Read more »

Man vs Bee is simply the return of Mr Bean with dialogues and it is deliriously enjoyable

Still from Man vs Bee In a scene from Netflix’s Man vs Bee, Trevor played by Rowan Atkinson tries to put out a fire by keeping it under a faucet ... Read more »

HTC's New Metaverse Phone Includes Crypto and NFT Wallet

The HTC Desire 22 Pro comes preloaded with "Viverse" apps to navigate the metaverse and manage your crypto and NFTs. Read more »

Germany signals support for 2035 fossil fuel car phaseout, with conditions

Germany broke air pollution rules from 2010 to 2016, with road pollution emerging as a major source German Environment minister Steffi Lemke will meet with EU members on Tuesday to ... Read more »

Brazilian consumers outraged

Smaller packages with less content, but the price stays the same — Brazil’s food companies are reducing the weight of the products and it is not easily noticeable. Consumers are ... Read more »

Euro holds below $1.06 as ECB's Lagarde sticks to policy outlook script

Photo: Unsplash/Ibrahim Boran By Saikat Chatterjee LONDON (Reuters) – The Aussie and the Canadian dollar climbed on Tuesday on firmer oil prices while the euro held below $1.06 as European ... Read more »

Reliance Jio partners with DigiBoxx to offer extra 10 GB cloud storage

Jio Set-top Box users can add their DigiBoxx account to the JioPhotos app — which comes pre-loaded on every Jio Set-top Box Reliance Industries' digital services arm Jio Platforms will ... Read more »

Brendon McCullum lifts lid on Ben Stokes' dressing room persona as England whitewash NZ

Brendon McCullum has hailed Ben Stokes for exceeding his expectations as a Test captain and giving his players ‘satisfaction.’ Stokes and McCullum have made a potent, positive partnership in just ... Read more »

Afghan survivor: If another quake doesn’t kill us, poverty might

Gayan, Afghanistan – When a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan last week, Naqib lost his home and nearly his whole family. His parents and four siblings now lie buried ... Read more »

Gunmen in northwest Pakistan kill polio worker, two policemen

Gunmen on motorcycles open fire on a team of workers during a door-to-door inoculation campaign in North Waziristan. Read more »

Amazon’s Echo Dot, Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 by over 40 percent

Ahead of Amazon’s Prime Day deals on July 12th and 13th, the online retailer has set up a great deal for its own smart devices. On what Amazon is calling ... Read more »

Obi-Wan Kenobi was pitched as a trilogy — does this mean we could get season 2?

The writer of the canned Obi-Wan movie speaks out Read more »

Top Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson to testify at Jan. 6 hearing

Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a senior aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is slated to testify Tuesday at a last-minute hearing scheduled by the Jan. ... Read more »

Armed robbery at Tefaf art fair in Maastricht, police hunt two men

Police outside the MECC. Photo: Marcel van Hoorn ANP Police are hunting two men after an armed robbery at the Tefaf art fair in Maastricht, during which visitors were apparently ... Read more »

Brendon McCullum: Swashbuckling England have served notice to Test rivals

Brendon McCullum believes England’s dynamic displays against New Zealand will have set “alarm bells” ringing around the cricket world. Read more »

When did Andy Murray win Wimbledon? Who did tennis star beat in finals, what years did he do it, how many wins

Andy Murray fought back from one set down to beat Australian Jamie Duckworth 3-1 in his opening match of the The Scot saw off his opponent , a venue where ... Read more »

Man showed ‘courage and determination’ to try to save woman in River Thames

Coroner praises Folajimi ‘Jimi’ Olubunmi-Adewole, 20, who died on April 24 last year after jumping into the River Thames near London Bridge. Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole died after jumping into the River ... Read more »

ISL Transfer News: Bengaluru FC Hand Extensions to Leon Augustine and Namgyal Bhutia

© Provided by News18 Indian Super League franchise Bengaluru FC on Tuesday announced that young winger Leon Augustine and wing-back Namgyal Bhutia had signed extensions on their existing contracts. While ... Read more »

Royal fans are all saying the same thing about the Queen in latest clip

Photo credit: JEFF J MITCHELL – Getty Images After a busy start to the month – which saw Her Majesty mark 70 years on the British throne with a four ... Read more »

Paramedic ‘humiliated’ colleague about her weight and called her a ‘fat porker’

‘Look at the f***ing state of you. You need to lose weight’, the medic had said (Picture: Getty Images) A fat-shaming paramedic who bullied a female colleague about her weight ... Read more »

Nasa’s Capstone mission takes off on an ‘unusual’ route to the Moon

Capstone is about the size of a microwave oven and will study a specific orbit (Picture: Rocket Lab via AP) A small Nasa spacecraft launched from New Zealand, the first ... Read more »

Chimpanzees mastered a 3D video game much faster than scientists expected

One of the chimpanzees from the Leipzig Zoo in Germany playing the specially designed 3D game. (Credit: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology/Newsflash) Chimpanzees are closet gamers, who knew? British ... Read more »