Jal Shakti Deptt constructs wall across stream to stop flow of water
Srinagar, July 27: South Asia’s largest fish farm in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area is under threat as Jal Shakti Department is constructing a barrier across the stream at source which according to the fishers department will stop the water flow.
Known for its natural beauty, Kashmir has the distinction of having Asia’s largest fisheries farm in Kokernag.
The farm is emerging best producer of Rainbow Trout fish across the world.
However, Jal Shakti Department, which was earlier known as Public Health Engineering Department is constructing a concrete barrier across the stream at source which will stop the water.
Director Fisheries Department Kashmir has written a letter to Principal Secretary Department of Fisheries, a copy of which lies with news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) says, “Jal Shakti Department is tapping the water of Kokernag Spring and is executing a concrete barrier across the stream at source and this barrier will completely stop the water flow particularly during lean period. Despite repeated requests and on spot inspection of a team of officers, no heed is being paid by the Jal Shakti Department and the Department is hell bent upon to raise the barrier and lay water supply pipes of different capacities from 6″ to 18″ to supply the water to the public.”
In 1996, the Governor of the erstwhile state during a board meeting of district Anantnag took a decision that the spring at Kokernag shall not be tapped by PHE Department as the same is being used for Development of Fisheries at Trout Fish Farming Project Kokernag.
“Not taking the cognizance of the decision of the highest institution, the Department of PHE has laid pipes from time to time forcibly by taking the support of the general public on the pretext of supplying drinking water,” the letter reads.
The Fisheries Department set up a trout farming project at Kokernag in south Kashmir with the European Economic Community’s assistance in 1984.
The project in the course of time has achieved its goal and presently the said project is catering the Trout seed requirement of more than 500 private farmers and will be in a position to cater all such entrepreneurs,- established in future.
The Director says this tapping of water will not only close the activity of the Fisheries Department but this water is also used for other sectors like agriculture, horticulture, vegetable farming and other cultural practices.
“The blockage of the stream will affect thousands of hectares of irrigated land thus the primary sector will be affected badly. Secondly the said AEE directed this Department to look for an alternate source for the Trout Project which is not possible at all. However, the Jal Shakti Department has all possible means of tapping the water from other sources like the Bringhi Stream or by way of bore wells or tapping water at tail end of the project,” it reads.
DC Anantnag did not respond to repeated phone calls. However, ADC Anantnag said the Fisheries Department should raise this issue with the government.
The concerned Executive engineer Siraj Ahmad said that the fisheries department has already agreed to the memorandum of understanding in this regard. “I assure that there will be no harm to the fish farm, and even in the recent meeting with DC sahab we discussed the issue and convinced fisheries department officials that no harm will be done to the fish farm,” he told KINS.