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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Dal Lake rehab project on slow track

Ashiq Hussain , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, May 08, 2013
First Published: 21:14 IST(8/5/2013) | Last Updated: 22:30 IST(8/5/2013)

Failing to complete development projects on time is nothing unusual for any state government across the country. But in Jammu and Kashmir, the project aimed to conserve Dal Lake by rehabilitation and relocation of lake dwellers has created a record of sorts in delay.

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Of the 11,000 families estimated in 2007 to be rehabilitated within three years, only 60 families have been relocated till now, meaning a work shortfall percentage of 99.8%.

In 2007, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority had announced to prepare plots for an estimated population of 55,000 souls living around Dal Lake to be shifted to Rakhi Arth Colony in Bemina within three years. The motive was to clear the choked inner areas of lake for its conservation.

The department had proposed to relocate 3,500 families every year to Bemina, a proposal only to remain on paper.
 
"Sixty families are already living in the new colony," said LAWDA vice-chairman Irfan Yasin.

The government had sanctioned Rs. 416.72 crore for the construction of mini-township equipped with all modern facilities, besides all basic amenities for the dwellers of the lake.

The LAWDA has no clear answers for the delay. Yasin said the project was pending due to "pending clearance" from the environment ministry.

"The clearance has been granted now. We will be starting the work to develop sewer lines in June and after that we will be going for macdamisation of roads. Then 650 families will be relocated on the land," he said.

The Bemina area on the outskirts of city was neither a forest area nor it fell in green zone. 

 On Tuesday after a visit to Bemina, minister for local bodies and urban development, Niwang Rigzin Jora could do nothing except "exhorting upon the executing agencies to speed up the pace of work on the project".

Jora also emphasized on monthly monitoring and assessing of the work for its early completion.  Last year, this very month, chief minister Omar Abdullah had issued a similar statement.

Under the project 7,526 kanals of land were to be developed in three phases. In first phase which is still under progress 3,000 kanals of land were to be developed to prepare 4500 plots for the rehabilitation of Dal dwellers.

The minister said in the first phase 377 plots had been already allotted to the affected people while as rest of 3,000 kanals will be developed in due course and then 1,526 kanals of land will be developed in last phase.


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