Kashmir is called the ‘paradise on earth’ primarily for its abundant water resources. However, preservation, protection and development of these vital resources has never been a scientific exercise in Kashmir.
Barring Dal lake and to some extent one or two other lakes, the water-bodies of the valley have not been properly exploited for their economic potential such as by promoting tourism, fisheries and allied industry.
There is a huge scope for the water sports in Kashmir, yet the fruitful exploitation of this adventure sports has been least thought over. The fresh water lakes of the valley could serve as venues for international sports events in water sports.
Bird-watching is another such activity that could earn the state substantial economic benefits, given the fact that Kashmir serves as a host destination for thousands of different species of birds in summer, which fly all the way from Siberia and different regions of Europe and Asia.
In the scenario of growing traffic mess on the streets of Srinagar, water transport could be smooth, cheap and a fast means of transport for the common citizens of the valley.
Kashmir has already lost many a fresh water lakes and wetlands to Governmental apathy and indifference of people in general. The case in point is Aanchar Lake, and Hokar Sar to name a few. Aanchar has already been designated as a dead water body by experts in limnology and environmental sciences. Same is the fate of Hokar Sar, that used to be a famous spot for Bird-Watching. Over the years, the Wetland is gradually turning into a barren stretch of land, with encroachments and unregulated flow of sewage and waste water into its heart accelerating its painful death.
Wular, once the largest fresh water lake in Asia has shrunk to less than half of its original size, partly due to encroachment and partly due to ill-conceived protection measures. The lake is covered under the Ramsar treaty, but unfortunately even then no initiative in the last forty years has been taken for its preservation and Protection.
The concern shown by Union Forest and Environment Minister recently towards the worsening condition of Wular is a welcome sign for the preservation of Lakes and Water bodies. The 360 crore plan conceived under National Lake Conservation Action Plan for the preservation of Wular, if implemented, aims to restore the pristine glory of the lake. However the plan should not be restricted to Wular; a number of water bodies in Valley are dying for want of attention, rather a comprehensive plan envisaging preservation of all the major lakes of Valley should be conceived and implemented on a priority basis.