Disaster: Dal STPs may not function after a few days

PDD threatens to disconnect power as LAWDA has no money to pay dues

An environmental catastrophe is imminent in Dal Lake as the Power Development Department (PDD) today sent notice to the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) warning it of disconnecting power supply to its Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and pumping stations for failing to clear outstanding of nearly two crore rupees.
Sources said the PDD has already snapped power supply to aerators in Dal Lake due to non-payment of electricity dues. These aerators installed in various areas of the lake to improve circulation have been able to control infestation of harmful water ferns in the water body.
PDD officials said LAWDA has failed to clear the power dues as the Jammu and Kashmir government has stopped Operation and Maintenance funds to body this year. The Authority has already suspended dredging and de-weeding operations due to lack of funds for fuel.
The Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD) headed by Nawang Rigzin Jora has stopped funds to LAWDA, asking it to generate Operation and Maintenance charges for Dal conservation by collecting service charges from shikarawalas, houseboat owners, tourists visiting the lake and other locals who derive their livelihood from the water body.
The five STPs in Lam, Habak, Nishat, Brari Nambal and Nallah Amir Khan daily treat around 20 million liters of sewage of majority of areas around Dal and Nigeen lakes.
“If the power supply is snapped, it will lead to a major environmental disaster in the Dal Lake due to non-functioning of the STPs and pumping stations. The raw sewage received in these STPs will overflow into the lake, pollute it and defeat the objective of the Dal conservation and prove detrimental for the lake,” said noted environmentalist and hydraulic engineer, Aijaz Rasool.
He said suspension of de-weeding and dredging operation will also take a heavy toll on the Dal. “Stopping of aerators will decrease the oxygen level and the algal blooms will reappear. Government should not have been negligent to put in place sustainable nature of Operation and Maintenance. It ironical that government went to the extent of stopping the funds all of a sudden for such important works at the cost of lake’s ecology and conservation measures,” he added.
Senior LAWDA officials said the matter has been taken up with the government. 
Chief Engineer PDD, Bashir Ahmad, said he will look into the matter. “I will have to check out details regarding the matter,” the CE said.
An official of PDD, wishing anonymity, said the department cannot bear the huge power dues of LAWDA or any other consumer.

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