Govt fails to nip in bud ‘Deadly’ lily growth in Dal Lake

The famed lake at the heart of Kashmir’s holidaying industry is facing an uncertain future as past measures to uproot lily patches have met with little success and the machines required for its accelerated removal have not been purchased so far.

The removal of lily patches from Dal Lake has been the recurrent theme at the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the failure to uproot the patches has been thoroughly discussed in all recent meetings. Around 5 sq km lake area is covered by lilies.

The minutes of the latest advisory committee meeting, accessed by Kashmir Post, have revealed that lily patches have shown a “re-growth”. “However, the growth is not vigorous in the areas where it was uprooted last year,” officials told the committee members.
A scientific expert in the advisory committee had earlier expressed “fear” that if rhizomes — stem of a plant that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes — of lily were not totally removed, “there can be huge burst of these patches”. The expert warned that it could prove “deadly for the lake”.

Following the intervention of former Governor NN Vohra, 600-700 skilled and 300-400 semi-skilled workers were engaged in lily extraction and weeding last month and they removed 81,461 cubic metres of lily patches.

The meeting also noted the need to accelerate the procurement of modern machines “in order to accelerate the removal of lily patches”. Amicus curiae Zaffar Ahmad Shah expressed “dissatisfaction on the unnecessary delay” in the purchase of machinery, the minutes of the meeting revealed.

The officials of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority told Kashmir Post that the machinery had not been procured yet due to procedural hiccups.

“The bidders are not meeting the required criteria which has been set for the purchase of the machines which is causing the delay,” said Fayaz Ahmad, executive engineer in LAWDA’s mechanical division.

The official said the latest tenders for the purchase of up to 22 machines were floated in July this year and are currently undergoing technical evaluation. The machines are expected to cost up to Rs 36 crore.