Lal koul Kupwara : The lost treasure

Aamir Altaf & Nisarwani

The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as it was handed over to us……..(M.K. Gandhi)
LalKoul a canal flow from Bumhama throughDrugmulla,shalpora, keegamand many other villages . once this canal was an important source of irrigation for thousands kunals of paddy fields . The canal used to evince a picturesque view of the area. In summer the children were taking bath and get rid from the scorching heat. The housewives and girl’s in there teen ages used to come to lalkoul for the sake of pristine beauty and solace of its stress booster and wash dishes and clothes, They used to sit on yarbaland do their household works. When we were children the lalkoul was in spate full of water , quite vast and its water was crystal clear and pure that was used for drinking purpose and other domestic works by the whole population living along it. For many years the Lalkoul has undergone tremendous change and we are witnessing the decline purity of its water and its flow as well due to the natural and human interference. Change in climatic conditions , the high temperature resulted into the quick evaporation of water which affected the reduction of water level and on contrary results in the formation of marshy margins and settling down of countless floating algae and other grasses . The latest visible construction along the bank of the Lal koul for purposes of widening the roads makes the situation worse and there is no dead end to increasing public woes. The human settlements on the periphery of Lal koul is one of the major factors responsible for canal’s shrinking. The sewerage is directly discharged into the canal directly. Solid wastes such as vegetable scraps , polythene bags , papers etc are dumped into the Lalkoul . Number of latrines used by local residents have also been constructed over the bank of the Lalkoul. The water that was once pure and clean is now poisonous due to the dumping of garbage and plastic into the canal and consequently the commuters have to deal with bad odour and dirt while walking along the bank of Lalkoul. The garbage piling up in the cabal has attracted stray dogs and due to the scarcity of water farmers are not able to irrigate their Paddy fields and consequently the crops are badly hit in the area , Due to the increasing pollution in Lal koul many water born diseases are effecting daily life of people. People are facing many problems that are clearly visible but majority of the people are still in deep slumber.
We suggested the restoration work should be handed over to an independent agency having a complete knowledge of canal restoration and they must be allowed to work without any political interference. Simply one needs to change his/her attitude and work as an individual to take steps and make a contribution.
Lal koul is in pathetic condition and the irrigation department and civic administration need to work on some remedial measures . The protection of Lal koul is the responsibility of the irrigation department but shockingly the department is not initiating steps for it’s proper maintenance. We are told that the irrigation department wants civic administration to maintain the canal as it is flowing through many villages. People who throw waste materials , garbage , dirt into the Lal koul are not only guilty but also somewhere down the line Govt is also responsible because the locals of the area have only option to throw garbage in the canal as they are not provided dust bins that must be provided by the civic management . The Govt at the lower level should take the steps to protect the Lal koul by choosing some fixed spots for the waste materials. People should wake up from deep slumber and take collective steps for cleaning the Lal koul instead of dumping the dirt and garbage into the canal. Dig dustbins at every one or two kilometres may be we can let the people know that the canal is meant only for the water and not for the waste materials. Keeping in view the overall deteriorating conditions of The Lal koul the local authorities have completely failed in the restoration of its lost glory. Every individual and the community in particular should help in minimizing the water pollution by simply keep household wastes dumped in dustbins. It is a fact that the past glory of the canal can never be restored .We suggested the restoration work should be handed over to an independent agency having a complete knowledge of canal restoration and they must be allowed to work without any political interference. Simply one needs to change his/her attitude and work as an individual to take steps and make a contribution.
(Authors are the students of Aligarh Muslim university and hail from Drugmulla area of District Kupwara. Views are their own) [email protected]

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