We Are Lake Killers of Kashipur
There is a city in the foothills of Kumaon, Uttarakhand. Its name is Kashipur, and I am a part-time resident of this town since 2010. A beautiful and peaceful town partially submerged in the sea of development and now a day honking a lot, teens are riding motorbikes and people are aware how to live with dirt in their locality as to compete with the high-end metros. But today I am going to write about the lakes of this town and how we are killing them one by one without any fear of murder charges.
Just few years back there use to be more than 8 lakes in and around the town, now there are only 2. Yes 6 of them are missing from the town’s map. Either they ran away or someone kidnapped them. Because how’s that possible that we as a society can do any harm to them! But apart from sarcasm yes, we are doing harm to them. We are killing them, slowly! Because slow and steady, wins the race of development. Just for a record, since 1947 more than 91,000 lakes and ponds have ran away and are missing in Uttarakhand.
Let’s talk about a small and beautiful lake, Giritaal or Giri lake. With an area of around 500 meters x 150 meters. This beautiful lake is surrounded by Mango trees, pavements to walk and amazing greenery. When I saw this lake for the first time in 2010, it was full of water, a restaurant running and contractor giving you boat ride in the lake. Although I don’t consider the later to necessary, I want the first quality back. Since then the situation has only degraded and reached to such level that youth of the other side of the lake with a dense population now they have their volleyball court in the dry base of the lake.
The lake was so beautiful and full of greenery that few decades back KMVN, the body for tourism development of the area came up with first tourist guest house apart from hills just near the lake.
How We Are Killing The Lakes?
Let me disclose this secret formula. Teach the children not to bother about nature and we will have a society like this soon, who will not care anything about nature. They will see a lake die nearby them but not be sensitive towards that anymore. They will see the construction companies filling them and much more. So, how we are doing it here, a case study:
First of all, the lake is not under any government body. It is being privately held by a poor temple trust, which is not able to take proper care of the lake. In fact, the lake is not even under the Municipal Corporation of the city and the Mayor. The water to the lake is provided by the irrigation department from a canal passing nearby. Few years back irrigation department stopped the supply of water because trust stopped asking for that. So, when the water level went really down and came to almost an end with proving land in the base, the trust gave the contract to some farmers to grow vegetables and share the revenue as well.
Apart from that, no one is bothered about the condition. The high-end Giritaal society near the lake, the posh lake view bungalow owners, the ward members and the local lawmakers as well. No one is reaching to the irrigation department for water. Who will finance the clearing of silt in the lake to increase the depth of the lake? Even the tourism department is sending millions of rupees every year, where is it going?
Very soon the lake will completely die and the poor trust will allot the land to some builder to make out a new colony in the name of development. Then like Katorataal, we will say there use to be a lake, but now it’s a colony.
Who Is Responsible?
I am responsible that I took so much time to raise my voice and write my words. The local people are responsible, who are not sensitive for their lake as they have running taps in their washrooms and kitchens. The local lawmakers are responsible as they can’t connect themselves with the town they belong to. The various departments are responsible who are not using their authority to save what belongs to them. The environment and tourism department are responsible, our chief minister is responsible.
We are responsible.
What is The Solution?
The solution is really simple. We need to wake up! Can’t we do even that! If the place is of tourism importance, the respective department should work with the local government body to undertake it and be more responsible towards it. Let not any poor trust handle that. Irrigation department is ready to provide water, so develop a proper channel for regular communication with the department. Plant more trees around the lake, not the fancy one but the indigenous one. Take the silt out regularly and ask the local colonies not to through their waste in the lake premises. Run a campaign, involve school and college students, increase the sensitivity towards nature and let them realize that running taps in your homes are not an alternative to the lakes around you. They die you die! Just wake up. Save your lake.
Till the time I will not write something in Hindi, I will not get peace of soul:
हमें ये समझना होगा की प्रकृति और हमारा समाज कितना अटूट है. जिस तालाब की मैं बात कर रहा हु उसके किनारे दो मंदिर है, जहा मैं जाता रहता हु लकिन लोग ये नहीं समझ पा रहे की सबसे बड़ा मंदिर वो तालाब है जिसको हम सब मिल के मारने पे लगे है. कितनी भी आरती गा ले, ईश्वर तभी खुश रहेगा जब हम उसके दिए हुए इस वरदान का सम्मान करेंगे | एक और बैंगलोर न बनाये, आपने तालाबो को बचा ले, आग्रह है.