Mourn, oh city! Pandhrabodi lake is dying

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Sep 2018 09:32:27

The shrinking water body called Pandhrabodi lake It is dying a slow death 

By Kartik Lokhande,

Apathy is more dangerous for a water body than weeds. Pandhrabodi lake is a living example of this statement. Using the potent weapon of apathy, the city as a whole is killing the lake every passing day. As a result, what was once spread over 27.10 acres of land, it got shrunk to a mere 3.3 hectares (8.25 acres) in 2008, and now it has shrunk even further.


(1) This board says one thing and the backdrop of a sports facility in land (what was once a part of the bed of Pandhrabodi lake) leased out by NIT to a sports facility, presents a perfect contrast.
(2) This nullah connected to the lake remains mostly dry. For, the lake itself holds little water nowadays.
(3) The beautiful well constructed with black rocks, has stairs on two sides and outlet pipes. However, it is nothing but a neglected and forgotten structure for the city.
(4) This is the paved pathway through what is supposed to be a garden developed by spending public money. Can one really call it a well-maintained facility that could justify utilisation of funds meant for rejuvenation of lake?
(5) Such constructions are ignored by the authorities, though they are nothing but encroachments in lake area. 



The process of killing the lake did not begin recently. In fact, if one goes by a document of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), the lake was ‘almost dead’ in 2008. NMC’s Master Plan for Rejuvenation of Lakes of Nagpur City prepared by Shah Technical Consultants Pvt Ltd with Dinesh Rathi & Associates, and Grass Roots Research and Consultancy, had stated in October 2008, “This half-cut dry lake is almost dead.”

The residents of Baji Prabhu Nagar and corporator (now MLC) Dr Parinay Fuke had taken up the matter of sad state of one of the oldest lakes in the city, before the High Court, following which NMC had sought funds from State Government to revive the lake. The Government also had sanctioned funds with directions issued from time to time for ‘expediting the work’.

Sadly, instead of the water body getting rejuvenated, much of funds -- one feels after visiting the lake -- has been spent on construction works. The high retaining walls prohibit a view of the lake from outside. Of course, the high retaining walls prevent any further encroachment of human settlement on lake. Still, as the lake is surrounded on almost all sides by densely populated areas, inside the wall, one can find evidence of human callousness towards environment, in the form of garbage. Obviously, such filth attracts pigs. Such is the number of pigs one finds there that one can say that the lake area has been virtually converted into a pig sanctuary.

The pigs roam around freely, finding food for them in shrubs and bushes that occupy more area of the lake than water. Such has been the neglect of the water body for years that Pandhrabodi lake has been converted into nothing more than a pond.

The overall sight is so appalling that one tends to ignore the beautiful sight presented by an old Banyan tree and a rock-well in front of it. The rock-well has unique features. It is made of a black rock, has two metal pipe outlets opening into lake. There are stairs leading to the brim of the well. A peep through the well of which the top is covered with lid made of iron bars, reveals that there are iron hooks inside the well. However, one cannot notice the features. For, given the condition of the lake, no one actually would want to even take a fast stroll along the lake.

There are boards that give the ‘message’ for saving the water bodies. This is nothing short of a contrast. For, one can see a retaining wall inside the lake area, separating the shrunk water body from land leased out by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to a sports body. One can see hard court developed in one part of the lake area.

Also, there is a paved pathway through what was supposed to be a garden. Now, the pathway passes through unregulated growth of trees and bushes. When ‘The Hitavada’ team walked down this pathway, a lovelorn couple emerged from the bushes. The young girl remained silent but the man made a very telling comment, “This is very much a garden, sir. Now, for couples like us, the authorities have developed jungle-like atmosphere here.” If the authorities do not take it as insult of their so-called efforts of ‘rejuvenation of water body’, what else should shame them to take some concrete and sustained action on ground?

The neglect of authorities towards arresting the shrinking of the lake is so intense that they have just spent funds without bothering to check if it has actually helped the cause of rejuvenation of Pandhrabodi lake. A sewage nullah connected to the lake, is no more than a dry canal. Though the number of visitors to the water body is negligible nowadays, one can find thermocol waste, plastic bottles, beer and liquor bottles etc dumped right in the lake. The lake, which was once an immersion point for Ganesh idols during Ganeshotsava, has become a dumping spot for waste. If this is not the sorry state, what else is? Given the situation, one can only say: Mourn, oh city! This lake is dying...