An End for Kashmir’s ‘Mughal Palaces on Water’?
Travel Blog • Joanna Kakissis • 03.19.09 | 2:17 PM ET
The beautifully carved wooden houseboats, which are area icons, date to the 19th century, when they shielded British officials from the subcontinent’s penetrating summers. Today, tourists rent the houseboats on Dal Lake, which, though seemingly lovely, is actually a dumping ground for untreated sewage.
To combat the pollution, Kashmir’s provincial government has asked houseboat owners to install pricey sewage treatment on the vessels within 90 days or face a shutdown, The Guardian reports. But the houseboat owners, many of whom live below the poverty line, say they can’t afford the units. “The government should pay for the sewage treatment units, or it should put all the 850 houseboats together and blow them up with one big bomb,” lamented Mohammed Azam Tuman, president of the Houseboats and Shikara Owners Association.