Bandipora, August 18: The dredging efforts in Wular lake in North Kashmir's Bandipora District has yielded record-breaking results, with chestnut production making a triumphant comeback after years of decline.
The restoration of the lake's ecosystem has not only reinvigorated the lake's biodiversity but has also breathed new life into the local economy.
For years, the lake had been grappling with pollution and sedimentation, which had taken a toll on its delicate ecosystem. However, with the relentless efforts of environmentalists, government agencies, and locals, the tides have turned.
Local farmers, who had been struggling due to the decline in chestnut yields, are now rejoicing at the positive turn of events.
"Our livelihoods were deeply connected to the chestnut harvest, and its decline had hit us hard," Asif Ahmad, a chestnut farmer from Kulhama village of Bandipora told Rising Kashmir, adding "the bountiful harvests have brought economic relief to us."
As per the locals, chestnut production in this year has seen more than doubling the yields of previous years.
"We used to go out early in the morning, leaving our homes, with a hope to fetch chestnuts all day. But we would often return with just a handful," Farida Begum, a veteran chestnut farmer said. "Now, it's almost overwhelming to see chestnuts everywhere in the lake where restoration work has been done."
Coordinator Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA), Mudasir Mehmood told Rising Kashmir that it is truly an exciting sight to witness the revival of chestnut production in the lake. The restoration has provided a conducive environment for various native species, including the chestnut plants, to thrive once again, he said.
The concerted efforts of the Wular Conservation and Management Authority have been instrumental in spearheading the restoration work, Mudasir said adding "Our vision was to restore the lake to its former glory, and the return of chestnut production fuels our determination to continue preserving this invaluable ecosystem."