Srinagar: With no permission from authorities for repairing, the famed houseboats floating in world-famous Dal Lake have started to sink at a rapid rate.
With the addition of three more houseboats that got damaged on Friday, the number of sinking houseboats has reached to 10 in two months.
Talking to KNO, Yakub Dunoo, spokesman of the Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association (KHBOA), said that three more houseboats sank on early Friday morning.
“During the pre-dawn snowfall, three more houseboats in the first row of the Dal Lake sank and got completely damaged. The tally of the damaged structures has gone up to 10 in the ensuing month,” Dunoo said. “The number will increase in the coming days since there is no permission to repair the houseboats.”
Dunoo said that the number of houseboats has rapidly come down over the years.
“From 3000 working houseboats, the figure has come crashing down to 910 only, as the number of structures suffered heavy damage in winter and sank in absence of the permission to repair them,” he said.
“The Valley so far has witnessed very mild snow but still, it has caused damage to many houseboats. How can the rest withstand when it snows heavily in the coming days,” Dunoo asked.
He said that the wooden structure of a houseboat requires immediate attention in terms of repairing and renovating, but the government’s decision of not to undertake any repairment has taken a heavy toll on the sector.
Dunoo said the houseboat sector suffered huge losses during the consecutive lockdowns after the abrogation of Article 370 and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“From the past two years, we are facing huge financial issues. At this time when authorities should have supported us, they are making our lives more miserable,” he said.
Urging the government to initiate concrete steps to help the highly affected houseboat sector, Dunoo said the Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha led administration must come forward with concrete steps to save Kashmir’s iconic heritage at the earliest. (KNO)