The Houseboat Owners along with Dal dwellers are up in arms against Chief Minister’s decision to realign the houseboats and relocate the dwellers.
The owners and the dwellers responded to the query of the CM where he stressed upon preventing influx of untreated sewage from entering into the lake, that they have already taken measures to prevent influx of sewage.
President Houseboat owners association, Muhammad Yousuf Chopri ridiculed the government plan of realignment of houseboats. “When you keep all the houseboats at a single place, it will pollute the lake as well as the whole city.” He sought assistance from the government for installing sewage plants in the houseboats.
Refusing relocation in Rakh-e-Arth, Tariq Patloo, a Dal dweller said the lake belongs to those who live in it.
According to him, 75 per cent population living in Dal has legal ownership rights. He said any decision on relocation must be taken after consulting the Dal dwellers.
There are nearly 950 Houseboats in Kashmir, out of which 625 are in Dal Lake, 200 in Nigeen Lake, 30 in Chinar Bagh and around 35 to 40 in river side. Around 62 per cent people living within Dal lake claim ownership rights on floating land in Dal Lake and around 25 per cent people living within Dal Lake also claim ownership rights on Dal lake water area.
Government is planning housing colony at Rakh-e-Arth in which according to official figures nearly 10,000 families from 58 hamlets inside the Dal Lake will be shifted to Rakh-e-Arth.
Under the National Lake Conservation and Management Programme (NLCP) project, Rs.298.78 crore has already been sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for conservation of world-famous Dal Lake.