Nadru and our lakes
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Nadru and our lakes

Post by Rising Kashmir on Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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Nadru (lotus stem) is a very popular delicacy that is much loved by the people of Kashmir. Many inputs from sellers suggest that the lake, Dal, where lotus grows and is extracted mostly, may produce less in the future. An unconventional farming though, Nadru is not grown like other cash or home consumption crops. Dal, Wular, Mansbal and several other smaller fresh water lakes form the natural ecosystem in which many plant, fish, bird and amphibious species thrive. While Dal and Mansbal are popular for Nadru extraction, Wular is also known for fish and water chestnut that makes up the diet and delicacy of thousands of people in Kashmir valley. Therefore, the lakes of Kashmir are not only important to the species that inhabit these water bodies but to the people as well, as their livelihood and sustenance depends on them. In the conservation efforts so far, an all inclusive approach has not been strictly observed. Conservationists are primarily concerned about human encroachments due to which the area of water bodies has shrunk to a low. Rarely is there a talk about the water beds and very rarely is there a research effort to study the lake beds or basins and find out if all is right. Many experts are of the opinion that floods, massive encroachments, use of excessive pesticides and weedicides may have damaged the settled sediments in the lake basins. The disturbance may have a large effect on the ecosystem, Nadru produce is just one case. Smaller aquatic plants and life forms that support the fish species may also be wiped out by river water containing alluvium that settles as a thick layer at the bottom. So the fish produce may also be erratic in future. Nadru, Kashmiri’s delight as a snack or even in the main course meal, has to be preserved. It is about the food, the livelihood of hundreds of families whose only is extraction, it is about the whole ecosystem and about the people who though not directly but indirectly derive benefits from the healthy lake system of Kashmir. Nadru being an unconventional crop demands the same attention as any other crop that is feared to fail. Its extraction needs to be regulated. Lake conservation plans must reset their goals to include the entire ecosystem conservation. If the lotus produce has diminished the seeds and farming must be allowed. There is also need for a thorough study highlighting the effects of flood waters on fresh water lake systems. 

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