Bandipora, Feb 8, KNT: Belying tall claims of authorities of launching an ambitious project to salvage the famed water body Wular Lake, locals Saturday alleged that encroachments, rampant plantation of willows, siltation and occupation of patches by mafia for fishing purposes in the middle of the water body are eating up Wular Lake and this Asia’s largest freshwater lake is fast losing its grandeur.
The locals appealed Lieutenant Governor GC Marmu to initiate action against a group of people who in league with Fisheries Department officials are busy in disfiguring the beauty of the Wullar Lake. They alleged that officials from Fisheries Department take money from the mafia and allow them to carryout illegal encroachments and trade practices. “Right from Nengli Sopore, the illegal structures have come up along lake banks and the irony is that the encroachers after occupying a patch of water body sell it to another party for fishing purposes. The license holders are not allowed to carry out fishing practices while mafia is given free hand to loot the Lake,” the locals told Kashmir News Trust.
They said it is a big mafia which not only involves fishermen but also officials from various government departments. “The mafia after erecting a temporary structure along the banks of Wular Lake, gradually creep into the water bodies and occupy a vast patch by erecting logs with sign boards, thus prohibiting others from fishing in that patch of illegally occupied water body. Gradually, the mafia sells this patch to another party for fishing purposes and a due share is given to concerned government officials,” locals said.
“Wullar Lake has been silted up encroached upon from all sides and this ever increasing encroachments and population around the Wular Lake is killing its aesthetic beauty. Wular has lost its carrying capacity due to pollution, siltation and encroachment,” the locas said.
An official from Fisheries Department said that they are on job and removing encroachments where ever these are found. (KNT)