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How Bhopal Citizens Joined Hands to Breath Fresh Life into its Jugular Vein–Bada Talab

The bed of the lake had dried so much that peoples even would take a walk on it to catch some cool breeze on hot summer evenings.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:July 4, 2019, 6:40 PM IST
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How Bhopal Citizens Joined Hands to Breath Fresh Life into its Jugular Vein–Bada Talab
Heavy machinery was employed to dig the lake and the dug-out soil was used in gardens and public parks.

Bhopal: The city of Nawabs, Bhopal, has its own scenic beauty, and numerous lakes especially the Bada Talab or the Upper Lake, biggest of them all, which is the soul and heart of the city.

However, the once mammoth 38 km reservoir, the Bada Talab lost its distinction of being the largest man-made lake to Udaipur Rajasthan’s Jaisamand Lake a few years ago. The water body was reduced to mere five kilometers.

The indiscriminate waste disposal in the lake and ever-growing encroachments have slowly and steadily threatened the existence of the once gigantic water body.

This year, a delayed monsoon, which reached the city by the end of June, only aggravated the situation. The water level this year shrunk considerably. Grass and vegetation sprouted everywhere on the dried earth which appeared after the water level receded. The bed of the lake had dried so much that peoples even would take a walk on it to catch some cool breeze on hot summer evenings.

The signs were alarming as the lake provides 30 million gallons of water to the city and almost 40% of the city population depends on it for the water needs.

However, aided by the district administration, the concerned citizens of Bhopal came together to undertake a massive cleaning drive at the Bada Talab.

The mega cleaning drive started under Minister for Urban Administration and Development Jaivardhan Singh. Several ministers and Bhopal mayor Alok Sharma too volunteered for the project.

The minister assured the drive would be undertaken much earlier next year and said measures would be ensured to prevent mixing of drainages into the lake water.

Heavy machinery was employed to dig the lake and the dug-out soil was used in gardens and public parks.

People from all walks of life, including politicians, sportspersons, social workers, students, working professionals and others, took part in the cleaning drive. The district administration also undertook a drive to remove encroachments on the banks of the lake so as to increase water storage capacity in catchment areas.

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation believes that till now around 10,000 trucks of soil have been extracted from the lake.

The de-silting works in the Upper Lake has led to an increase in the water storage capacity of the lake by 24,580 crore litres, said Mayor Sharma.

However, several experts, including Waterman Rajendra Singh who recently visited Bhopal for a convention on Right to Water, say the water body can’t be saved unless construction of huge structures alongside the bed of the lake is not prevented.

Though UAD minister Jaivardhan Singh has announced to remove encroachments alongside upper lake ruthlessly, it is to be see how the state government walks the talk.

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