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- ‘Shahi Houseboat’ Dying, Caught In 10 Water In 8 Months, Repairs Due To Pollution And No Approval Of New Boat
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The houseboat has up to 4 bedrooms, its one night rental is 2000 to 8000 rupees. They cost 2-3 crores.
The identity of tourism of Kashmir houseboats is dying. The number of palatial wooden palaces floating on Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Jhelum River has declined from 1600 to 910 in 20 years. In 8 months, 10 such palaces have perished in the water. Houseboat Malik Mohammad Sharif explains that there is a restriction on building a new houseboat and repairing the old houseboat. Most houseboats are 50 years old and are getting dilapidated with the passage of time.
We are not even allowed to repair them. This is the reason that today only 910 houseboats are left. Most of these are also in bad condition and need to be repaired. If it continues like this, after a decade you will not see a single houseboat. In 2009, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court stayed the repair of the houseboat as being responsible for pollution in the lakes. Since then, cases of repair of 200 houseboats have been pending before the tourism department.
Another houseboat owner, Bashir Ahmed, says governments hold houseboats responsible for the deteriorating ecology of Dal Lake. The truth is that there are hundreds of hotels around the lake. Has a population of millions. The sewage of hotels and houses falls directly into Dal Lake.
They say that our houseboat needs to be repaired, otherwise it will all submerge in water and we will lose our identity. Environmental activist Tariq Ahmed Patlu says, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the lake clean. Every day 4.2 million liters of sewage water falls into Dal Lake. Houseboat has less than 1 per cent stake in it. In such a situation, it is not right to consider only the houseboat responsible for the plight.
The administration has spent 1 thousand crores in 15 years to save Dal Lake. Tufail Mattoo, vice chairman of the Lake and Waterways Development Authority, says the administration has created a new policy for operating the houseboat. All houseboats will have to register online, fulfilling the rules and norms. There is also a provision for repair of damaged houseboat. On this, the houseboat owners say that when the policy is not applicable, we cannot say anything. Because there have been many such efforts in the past, but our situation has not changed.