Nadroo Production Decreases in Wular
\Sheikh Saleem (Rising Kashmir)
Srinagar: Once known for Nadroo (lotus stem) production, Asia’s largest fresh water lake Wular has stopped producing Nadroo due to the growing pollution and encroachment. The extinction of Nadroo has taken toll on livelihood of thousands as people who lost their ancestral work.The Nadroo extractors and contractors have either switched to other jobs or have been rendered jobless.
Around 30000 people, living on the banks of Wular were dependent on the Nadroo production of the lake. “In early 90s, we were selling tons of Nadroo but now not a single lotus is seen in the lake,” said Ali Mohammad, a Nadroo-grower. Attributing the extinction of this valuable Kashmiri cuisine to growing pollution in the lake, the Nadroo extractors said the marshy land of the lake was encroached upon by people and the government alike.
Nadroo-is a lotus stem grown in marshy lands. According a report of Wetland international-South Asia, lake vegetation sustains livelihood of 24150 households forming 29 percent of total lakeshore population.
Data collected from the rural appraisal indicated an abundance of vegetation, particularly Nadroo during 1950s, which provided income base to 75 – 80% of the population. However, the availability of Nadroo has decreased by 56% during the last fifty years owing to reduction in lake area, siltation and decline in water quality.
The report that was published in June 2007 said analysis of trend data on availability and dependence indicates drastic changes in vegetation resources over the last fifty years. “Kashmiri Nadroo is famous in India where the market was good for the Nadroo business, but the growing pollution proved a slaughter for our ancestral trade,” said Ghulam Hasan an erstwhile nadroo extractor. Though the people dependent on the Lake were hopeful as the government of India announces beautification and drudging of Wular, but six years have passed government has failed to even remove the encroachment.
According to a survey conducted by government, various government and private agencies have encroached about 62,232 kanals of land in past decade. Most of the land is under willow plantation. The plantation has been done by the forest department and social forestry. Interestingly the government has failed to implement the orders of removing encroachments orders issued five years back in 2006.
Due to extinction of Nadroo from the Wular the dependents on Wular have now switched on to other jobs thus losing their ancestral work. “The communities have gradually switched over from Nadroo to trapa collection, “said Iftikar Rasheed, an environmentalist.
Environmental experts have constantly warned in the last few years that lake is fast dying. The encroachment has taken toll on the production of vegetation and fish in the lake. “The encroachment on the lake has changed dramatically over the years, thus there occurs immediate change in the fish production,” said Iftikar Ahmad Wani, an environmentalist.
As government earlier used to issue tenders for the auction of Nadroo extraction but a government official said from past few years department have stopped to issue auction notice.