Gillsar, one of the neglected lakes, is on the brink of extinction, notwithstanding occasional calls by the administration about its restoration to past pristine glory. The water of Gillsar, named by king Zainulabidin for enormous lotus flowers, was used by local inhabitants for drinking and other domestic purposes some three decades ago. The lake is said to have been fed by a number of springs, many of them lost to encroachments in contemporary times. The water body is presently fed by a few springs called Mukhta Pokhar and Vichar Nag. They too are in pathetic conditions and feed the lake through a canal passing through Nowshera, Channa Mohalla and Renzoo Sathu. The feeding water accompanies effluents, surface drains, garbage and polythene. The water body is also connected to Khushal Sar, also a dying lake which unites it with a vast water body called Anchar lake.
Kashmir Valley has been bestowed by nature with best gifts. Human greed unfortunately ruined and destroyed a lot. The past of these lakes was all but glorious. Their present looks bleak as the encroachments have reduced them to small pools. Everything is not lost though. Experts have been underlining that nothing is impossible if the government shows will and spares the required resources for the revival of the lakes.
Last week, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir visited the area and interacted with the locals. The complaints galore and include releasing of untreated sewage into the water body, throwing of polythene and garbage into it. They also complained that illegal constructions and landfilling continues to deteriorate lakes.
The locals demanded immediate dredging of the lake to restore it to its original position as also stressed for the need to connect Gillsar with Nigeen Lake via Bota kadal so that its waters continue to flow through the year, “imperative for saving it from further deterioration and turning into cesspool.”
The Divisional Commissioner assured the locals that the government shall take all the steps to restore the pristine glory of this lake within the “shortest possible time”, according to a press statement released later.
He also directed the concerned officers to take immediate steps required for removing illegal encroachment and land filling besides stopping people from throwing garbage into the lakes. The announcement is welcome. However, at the same time the restoration needs resources along with a plan. The issue needs to be taken up with the centre for funding for any tangible action. It is hoped that the authorities will take up the matter with concerned authorities in the centre to ensure that these water bodies are saved from extinction.