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Dying Dal needs an I.C.U.
In medical parlance when a patient is in a critical condition, he is shifted to I.C.U. (Intensive Care Unit). This unit is equipped with all necessary life-support systems and a dying patient can be revived. Dal Lake is in a similar dying situation and needs urgent life saving measures. The recent photographic coverage of the Lake by Greater Kashmir has vividly demonstrated the critical condition of this water body. Srinagar as a historical “City of the Sun” has become known throughout the world because of this Lake with once lovely, pure, and shimmering waters now fast turning into a stinking marsh due to greed of the local people. We have been eating the lotus roots from the lake which has made us the proverbial “Lotus Eaters”, very slow and unmoved by any drastic events or happenings. The revival of this dying water body is beyond the expertise and resources of both the State as well as the Central Government. There is so much weed growth that the clear water has completely disappeared in a number of vast stretches of the Lake. The deterioration is so fast that a couple of weed cutters or dredges cannot keep pace with it. The only solution is to hand over the Lake on a turnkey basis to an International Consortium for its restoration. They alone can act as an I.C.U. for the dying Dal. They could employ a couple of dozen weed cutters, half a dozen dredgers, and scores of excavators to outpace the weed growth and deterioration. It should not be difficult for overseas Kashmiris of all shades of opinion to jointly set up such a consortium. Dal needs a two pronged treatment. Immediate short term measures to arrest further deterioration and long term measures to restore it to past glory. These multinational companies have all types of equipment and expertise to cater to the worst possible conditions. In earlier times, Government agencies were handicapped because of legal intervention on behalf of encroachers and violators of the conservation measures. However, in the present case the State’s Highest Court itself has been issuing repeated directions for saving the Lake. It is our greatest misfortune that we do not have at present the competent, responsible, honest, and dynamic Executive and Administrative set up to carry out these directions. It is the moral duty of all organisations political and non-political, mainstream and non-mainstream, up stream and down stream, religious and non-religious, the leftist, and the rightist to raise maximum hue and cry for saving the lake. One would have expected the organisations fighting for Azadi to be more vociferous and in the forefront to save this unique heritage of Kashmir. In fact, Azadi can wait. If our generation does not get it, the next one will get it. There are no two opinions that Kashmiris will one day get Azadi for which they have been waiting for centuries. However, the Dal cannot wait. According to Sir Walter Lawrence, “The Kashmiri is very loud and voluble. He is also very persistent”. Why has he been paralysed in case of Dal? Is it because of the lotus roots which he relishes? Everything said and done, the Dal is in its death throes. We must wake up as it is already too late. History may forgive us for our human failings to stand up to values of self respect and dignity but it will never forgive us for our greed in destroying this beautiful and unique gift of nature!
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