Chief Secretary B R Sharma Wednesday underlined the importance of Wullar Lake in protecting Kashmir Valley from floods by acting as a huge water storage reservoir. He said the de-silting effort launched under the comprehensive Wullar conservation and management plan needs greater impetus to increase the water holding capacity of the Lake.
Chairing a review meeting of the Wullar Conservation & Management Authority (WUCMA) in Jammu, Chief Secretary said that the ongoing conservation and protection measures for eco-restoration of Wullar Lake and its feeder channels, associated wetlands and marshes should gain momentum in view of the massive floods that struck the valley in September- 2014. He said Wullar Lake provides a natural way out for the excess or flood waters in Jhelum and it needs to be protected and conserved at all cost.
Under the 13th FC, Rs 120 cr were sanctioned for taking up conservation and protection measures in Wullar Lake, out of which Rs 60 cr were allotted. Till date, Rs 37.5 cr have been utilised for survey & demarcation, catchment conservation and water management of Wullar Lake.
While reviewing the progress of the project, Chief Secretary was informed that entire periphery of the lake has been demarcated as per authentic revenue record which indicates a lake area of 130 sq kms. As many as 1159 geo-tagged boundary pillars have been erected delineating the lake boundary from adjoining areas. Besides this, till date 9.11 lakh cum of silt has been dredged out from the lake along with removing over 26000 willow trees.
Measures to arrest soil erosion in the catchment area have been taken by erecting check dams and protection banks and planting over 3 lakh conifers in the adjoining forest area.
Chief Secretary also discussed future funding requirements of the project with directions to the Forest department to submit a proposal that would ensure uninterrupted funding to accomplish the remaining operations for conservation of Wullar Lake as per the DPR.