Catchments and Intrusions in the Bhopal Lake

A recent report said that in order to save the Upper Lake and Kolans River that feeds it 240 hectares of land is going to be brought under farming where fruits, flowers and spices will be grown. The report also said that more than 51000 fruiting plants will also be planted. According to the news fed by the government sources so far more than 15 ponds have been built and three check-dams are also ready. As many as 16 recharge shafts have been built to induce the rain water to go underground and recharge the sub-soil water.

This was a positive news item that has come out after a long, long time. That the catchments of the Upper Lake held the attention of the government  is a welcome sign. So far the government had given its best of frigid shoulders to the Lake and its catchments. That it has woken up to the need of conserving the catchments, the river that feeds the Lake and several drains that contribute in replenishing the waters of the Lake is a matters that warrants celebration by the people. It is seldom that such people-oriented decisions are taken, more so in respect of their water security.

All that is well and good! But, I can see from the window of my flat that construction in the catchments is going apace, especially in the complex of sporting facilities. At least two or three storied buildings are being constructed. One does not know whether these are regular constructions or are illegal. The Administration might like to satisfy itself that environmental norms connected with Wetland Rules are not being breached.

While the government’s preoccupation with the catchments of the Lake are commendable one would be happy if it pays a little more attention towards improvement in the quality of its waters. Off and on reports appear in the newspapers that raw sewage flows into the Lake without any let or hindrance. In fact numerous nallas carrying sewage continue to flow into the Lake. For the last 25 years this reporter has kept a watch on this matter but it seems the government is yet to come up with a solution for the problem. Is it such an intractable problem? One feels it is nothing but sheer apathy of the powers that be.

Residents of Khanugaon, a locality that projects on to the Lake, have been flexing their muscles for some time. Apparently they want a piece of the Lake. A few years ago a wall was erected which assumed such importance that even the former chief minister went and had look at it. He issued orders for its demolition but failed to follow them in writing. The municipality has latched on to this shortcoming and did not demolish the wall. Obviously, there is some biggy behind it all as otherwise orders written or otherwise of the chief minister would be promptly complied with. A recent report indicated Arif Aqeel’s interest in Khanugao.

Now one finds a newly built jetty protruding out as a tongue from one of the waterfront areas of Khanugaon. A light coloured boat regularly makes trips from and to the Boat Club. I find several sailors using the jetty in the morning to launch themselves into the water. None would really oppose such sporting activities but now only a jetty has been built, in course of time a boat club too will be built. In fact, there was a demand for a boat club by Khanugaon residents. So far it has remained elusive but it may not remain so for long. At least, I do not know whether necessary permissions/approvals have been taken to build and use a jetty in this eco-sensitive body of water. Public spirited people/organization might like to delve deeper into the matter. 


More by :  Proloy Bagchi

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