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PICS: Houseboat owners stage floating protest in Srinagar

Last updated on: March 20, 2012 13:47 IST

PICS: Houseboat owners stage floating protest in Srinagar

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

Houseboat owners in summer capital Srinagar on Monday staged a floating protest in river Jhelum against the government decision disallowing repair of the damaged houseboats parked at the DalLake, the NaginLake and the Jhelum River. Mukhtar Ahmed reports

With black flags mounted on their Shikaras, the local houseboat owners held a downstream protest shouting slogans.

They said authorities had banned repair of their damaged houseboats, thereby endangering the livelihood of scores of families drawing their sustenance from the houseboat business.

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Image: Protesters at the Dal Lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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PICS: Houseboat owners stage floating protest in Srinagar

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Mohammad Azim Tuman, the president of the houseboat owners association said, the authorities are not allowing repairs of around 42 houseboats and have also threatened to de-register these houseboats after declaring them 'shabby'.

He said the houseboats were registered in 1977 and in 1982 the State government banned construction of new houseboats, but repair and reconstruction of existing houseboats was allowed.

He said, "The authorities are now telling us we cannot repair our damaged houseboats. We fear such an attitude would result in disappearance of all the houseboats from river Jhelum, Dal Lake and Nagin Lake in the city in the next 20-years.

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Image: Shikaras at the Dal Lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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PICS: Houseboat owners stage floating protest in Srinagar

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Last week, Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani asked the houseboat owners to seek permission from the authorities of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority.

Hundreds of houseboats are moored on the Dal, Nageen lakes and Jhelum where the tourist throng to spend holidays on these floating palaces.

The authorities here say that the houseboats are a major source of pollution inside the lake threatening its very existence.

The Union Cabinet last month sanctioned Rs 356 crore for re-location of the dwellers around the Dal Lake for restoration.


Image: Protesters holding up their demands
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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