Umaisar Gull Ganie
Anantnag, 21 July: The largest freshwater spring in southern Kashmir believed to be the source of 500 springs is fast losing its grandeur to extensive pollution and official apathy.
Contrary to the government claims, no measures have been taken over the years for the conservation of this famous spring known as Panzath at Qazigund (gateway of Kashmir) in Anantnag district.
A spot visit revealed that the spring has been polluted, encroached upon by massive plantation of trees, and totally neglected by the government.
Located a kilometer from Srinagar-Jammu highway, the area leading to Panzath is surrounded by lush green trees.
Panzath is derived from a Kashmiri word ‘Paanch Hath’ which means 500. According to locals this spring is the source for 500 springs many of which are visible while others are hidden in Qazigund and its adjoining areas.
The Panzath spring and its tributaries provide water to nearly 35 villages through the supply schemes of Public Health Engineering (PHE) and other water management bodies.
The spring is also famous for trout hatcheries.
Pandit Kalhana, the author of Rajatarangini has mentioned Panzath (Pancahasta) in his chronicle as a favourite picnic spot of kings.
According to locals, Panzath was famous for its rainbow trout and other fish species. But due to “rising pollution level and official apathy” the locals fear they may lose the source of their water, Panzath.
“I have grown up here and it is disappointing to see the deteriorating condition of this spring. For the last many years, the spring has witnessed a sharp rise in pollution. The water level has considerably decreased and the government is acting like a mute spectator,” said Gull Mohammad Ganie, a local.
He said the spring faces a bleak future, as the sewage continues to flow through it and government is least bothered to act.
The locals however appealed to the government and the department of tourism to pay immediate attention towards the Panzath spring.