Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam Wednesday reviewed the progress made on conservation and eco-restoration of Wular Lake by the Wular Conservation & Management Authority (WUCMA).Commissioner/Secretary, Forest Department, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K, Chief Executive Director, WUCMA, Director Environment & Remote Sensing, J&K, Director, Finance, Forest Department, Director Planning, Forest Department, Coordinator, Water Management, WUCMA, Superintending Engineer, WUCMA, Project Coordinator CAT, WUCMA, Divisional Forest Officer, Bandipora Forest Division and other senior officers attended the meeting.Chief Executive Director, WUCMA informed that till date an expenditure of Rs 58 Crore has been incurred on the implementation of the Comprehensive Management Action Plan (CMAP) for Wular Lake with components like survey and demarcation of Lake boundary, water management, catchment area conservation, institutional development etc. He said 98% demarcation of the lake area has been completed and geo-tagged boundary pillars installed. He said removal of silt and willow trees from the lake surface and its feeder channels is under process and till date an area of 1 sq km has been desilted and 8.9 Lakh cum of silt removed from the lake and its feeder channels including the 1.8 Km long feeder channel of the Naaz Nallah. Further, over 28000 willow trees have been removed from the lake bed with a target to remove 1.91 Lakh more willow trees by 2021-22 which is expected to also generate revenue of over Rs 21 Crore through auctioning.He said 45 low cost sanitary units have also been built for population living along the banks to prevent defused pollution to the lake; afforestation over 1220 ha has been completed; 47,080 Cum of Check Dams and 16,186 Cum of crate wire bunds have been raised to arrest soil erosion in the Wular catchment areas.
While emphasizing upon the importance of conservation and eco-restoration of Wular Lake- a declared Ramsar site which is also critical for flood management in Kashmir Valley, Chief Secretary observed that since considerable financial resources are required for the purpose, Forest Department should explore the possibility of external funding for conservation of Wular Lake. He said Forest department should constitute a multi disciplinary team under WUCMA and work in tandem with J&K ERA for technical assistance and consultancy for formulation of a project for Wular Lake and thereafter approach the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India for its funding as an externally aided project by World Bank.Chief Secretary directed WUCMA to complete 100% demarcation work of the of Lake boundary along-with the installation of geo-tagged boundary pillars. He asked WUCMA to strengthen its monitoring mechanism to identify and prevent any encroachment of the Lake.Chief Secretary asked Forest Department to examine the feasibility of a foreshore road project along the entire Wular Lake perimeter. “The foreshore will act as a permanent boundary, prevent encroachment of the Lake, connect all the villages along the Lake perimeter besides enabling scenic view of the Lake” he said.Detailed deliberations were also held on the implementation of the Wular Action Plan for 2019-20 to 2021-21 for which an amount of Rs 200 Crore has already been allocated.