Human Chain Formed For Dal Conservation

5 September 2009
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: In a novel way to garner support and raise awareness to save the Dal Lake, over 4000 students today formed a human chain along the Dal banks here. The students were joined by 107 bikers from various states, who arrived here yesterday after entering prestigious Limca Book of Records for being the largest group on bikes to cross the world’s highest motorable pass- Khardungla in Ladakh. Holding placards with Dal preservation slogans inscribed on them, the students joined hands and formed human chain from Nehru Park to SK International Convention Centre. While the people on board vehicles and buses were amazed to see large number of students, the latter kept shouting, “Dal Hamari Pehchaan Hai, Dal Hamari Shaan Hai (Dal is our identity and pride).” The event was organised by Youth Hostel Association of India to commemorate its 60th anniversary and centenary celebrations of Youth Hostelling. “Dal Lake is heritage of Kashmir, save it and save our future,” read a placard held by Hazim Imtiaz., a student of 6th standard of Prime Public School. “By forming the human chain, we want to motivate people to lend a helping hand to preserve Dal,” he said. Another student Aasiya said Dal has been subjected to exploitation by the successive regimes and greedy people. “It is our duty to raise voice to save our natural asset which till few decades ago was famous world over for its unmatched beauty and pristine waters. We won’t allow the lake further deterioration,” she said. The students marched in a pattern and boarded boats. One of the participants of mountain bike expedition, Rohit Aggrawal, a Supreme Court lawyer, was visibly shocked to see the lake engulfed by obnoxious weeds behind the SKICC. “I had heard a lot about Dal’s beauty. But today I am pained to see its condition,” Aggrawal said while pointing towards heaps of garbage floating on the lake. “I have learnt that the state government has failed to implement the High Court directions to preserve the lake. I am ready to file a petition in Supreme Court for restoring the lake to its pristine glory,” he said. The students and bikers were joined by the minister of state for tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani and minister of state for youth services and sports, RS Chib. They boarded a motorboat and encouraged the students and visiting bikers while cleaning the lake. “Save Dal,” the students kept shouting while collecting garbage from the lake. Nasir Aslam said the preservation of Dal was priority of the government. “I see an opportunity in every calamity. The schools should form teams and frequently organise environmental awareness programs,” Aslam said. RS Chib appreciated the participation of the students in the programs and announced Rs 50,000 for their refreshment. The Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, entrusted with Dal conservation, had also pressed its machines and labourers into service. “We have deployed additional labourers to lend a helping help to the students to clean the lake,” said Showkat Ahmad, an engineer with LAWDA. Gurcharan Singh, an environmentalist, said Dal and other water bodies of the Valley need such programs to press for their preservation. The national president of YHAI, Muhammad Shafi Pandit, underscored the need to preserve the Dal. “The lake is our national heritage and we need to save it for posterity at any cost. The LAWDA’s sustained efforts have rekindled hope that the lake can be saved,” he said. He said it was the endeavour of YHAI to organise programs to protect environment. “Our aim is to converge people from different walks of life to lend shoulder to the restoration of Dal and other water bodies,” he added. The vice-chairman LAWDA, Irfan Yaseen, briefed the gathering about the ongoing measures to restore Dal. “We need the support of people to speed up its restoration. We are committed to restore Dal,” he said. The chairman Youth Hostels Association, SP Verma, thanked the state government and SKICC management for making the program a success.