Hokarsar wetland in Srinagar shrinking thick and fast

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Srinagar: Hokarsar wetland located in Srinagar outskirts has been presenting a grim picture. The wetland has shrunk considerably in wake of ongoing dredging project.

“After visiting the place, one can see plastic bottles, garbage dumped into the wetland. It’s heart-breaking to see this famous wetland dying silently. The lack of attention on part of concerned officials is shocking,” a local Muzafar Ahmed told news agency Kashmir News Trust.

He said the winter season has already begun in Kashmir, when thousands of birds should be arriving from northerly breeding grounds. But looking at the grim water situation in Hokersar, migratory birds may be heading elsewhere,” he added.

Another activist Imtiyaz Ahmed contradicts the claims of officials that migratory birds in lakhs have arrived in Kashmir. “Birds in this wetland are in thousands not in lakhs. It’s all because of the official apathy. In the name of dredging, the officials have ruined this precious asset in Kashmir,” he said.

“From past 7 years, the dredging in the wetland is going on. The contract has been awarded to a non-local company. This mega dredging plan has been proving bane for wetland and boon for the company,” said an Environmentalist adding that due to intense dredging Large areas of the 1,375-hectare wetland are now completely dry.

When contacted, a top official from Department of Wild Life Protection tried to give a rosy picture saying all is well and all efforts are taken to preserve this wetland. He, however, added that garbage and plastic bottle have accumulated due to dredging process and this will be cleared. (KNT)

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