SRINAGAR: The Wullar lake, Asia's largest fresh water lake, has been encroached upon over the past century reducing it from 217 sq km to just 125 sq km.
"The area of the Wullar lake was around 217 sq km besides 50 sq km of marshy land as per the census of 1911 but has drastically reduced to just 125 sq km," District Development Commissioner, Bandipora, Manzoor Ahmad Lone informed a three-member committee on environment of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
The committee, headed by State Secretary of CPI(M) M Y Tarigami, conducted an extensive tour of the Bandipora district yesterday and sought details about the Rs 398 crore Wullar conservation Project and its implementation.
There are about 62,000 kanals (3,100 hectares) of Wullar Lake which has been encroached over the years, the District Development Commissioner said adding, however, that there were good chances of recovery as there is no human habitations inside the lake.
The mega Wullar conservation project has been sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry as per the project prepared by the Wetland International.
An amount of Rs 120 crore stands sanctioned under 13th Finance Commission for the purpose.
"The conservation plan will focus on removing encroachments and weeding out around 22.5 lakh full grown trees and the process will be started in a phased manner," Lone said.