Srinagar: An initiative by the locals of Srinagar city’s Gill Kadal area to clean a lake and bring it back to life has finally paid off.
The Khushalsar lake that lies in the middle of the old city had turned into a marshy land making it difficult for locals to even breathe in the area. However, in the last four months, the locals took it on themselves to start the process of cleaning the lake.
Around 1000 trucks of garbage have already been taken out and it looks like the lake is alive again.
Manzoor Wagnoo, the man who started this campaign, got the locals on board and later involved the government to help them in cleaning the lake.
”The most important thing is that in Kashmir, most of the water bodies are in shambles. I took this initiative with the word ‘Ehsaas’. People were walking over the lake as it was dead. I went the next day and met with the locals to discuss the plan. People over there said that many have come and wanted to do this but no one stayed for beyond a couple of days. I literally with folded hands asked them to give me some time. We started the work in February. Just a few days ago we threw open this lake and can you believe we took a shikara ride in this lake after thirty years,” said Wangnoo.
“The whole water body was choked. Tourists in the old days used to come to take a shikara ride in this lake and there was a beautiful bird sanctuary, the children would swim there and we had a special fish called golden fish which I will make sure is found in it again,” he added.
The locals in the area donated money from their own pockets to clean this lake.
“We have initiated this here with the help of Manzoor Wagnoo. This was in a very bad state. People had started walking over it. It used to stink and there were animals all over it. Manzoor came here and brought us all together, we all donated money for the cleaning of this lake,” said Mohd Maqbool, a local.
The government has been helping the locals in this initiative as well. They have now started to clean the other portion of the lake called Gilsar.
“In Khushalsar, the initiative was taken by the locals. It’s a lake which is a part of Dal. There were huge piles of garbage dumped over the years. We managed to take out 20 trucks of garbage every day. We, under the support of Srinagar smart city, have supported this project,” said Athar Amin, Commissioner, Srinagar SMC.