Gandhisagar: A saga of ignorance

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Sep 2018 11:55:38

Circular platforms once were the sitting place of people have become garbage accumulation centres.


By Vikas Vaidya,

The lackadaisical attitude of civic authorities and other stakeholders has made the matter worst for historical Gandhisagar situated near Tilak Putla. The Gandhisagar, also known as Shukravar Talao and Jumma Talab, is being ignored by everybody years together. The public here, too, has joined hands with the authorities in converting this once beautiful lake into an ugly one.

The lake is in the heart of the city and covers nearly 18 hactare area. It has the history of around 300 years. There are many well-known temples, establishments including Raman Science Centre, Vidarbha Premier Housing Society, Shikshak Sahakari Bank, Tata Parsi School, Agyari, Hindu Dnyanpeeth Convent. There used to be Empress Mill near the lake. Now, the residential building is coming up. The water in the lake is an outcome of aquifers and the rain. Now, there are so many lakes in the city but no other lake has an old history than Gandhisagar. It is almost 300-year-old and witnessed many events.

Unfortunately, the subsequent bodies in civic authorities did only one thing -- Ignore--. A lot of schemes had planned without proper thinking. Now, probably the lake too has become habitual of such impotent planning by the authorities where nothing is delivered. Everybody comes up with a beautification plan, does some wishy-washy work and leaves the lake for the God’s mercy. A little visible foundation stone tells the story of beautification. The matter on the stone says, in 1993, the bhoomipujan for the beautification plan was performed at the hands of the then Guardian Minister Ranjit Deshmukh. The stone laid by him is lying (half of the stone partially disappeared into the ground), near Khau Galli with people urinating there.

There are circular cement platforms around the lake where the benches were kept to facilitate people watch the lake view and inhale fresh air. The entries to these platforms are closed for the reasons best known to civic authorities. These platforms neither demolished nor used for any other purpose. Now, a lot of garbage is accumulated there.People used to immerse the idols of deities into the lake.

The stairs near historical Shiva Mandir were used to go inside the lake for the immersion. The next day people found huge garbage, damaged idols. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation with fervour created artificial tank for the purpose of immersion of idols, so that the lake would not lose its beauty. The separate arrangement is made by the side of Tamhankar Ganesh Mandir. Such tanks are to be maintained by regular cleaning. But, the picture was very disappointing as the tank is not cleaned since long. People, too, joined hands with the authorities to disfigure the lake by immersing the idols in the lake itself instead of in the tank. There is no rule that can stops people from doing such activities.

The lake was constructed during the Bhonsale’s reign long back. Naturally, the thick retaining of the wall is broken by the presence of intermediate bastion. The edges of the wall have been damaged over the time while the bastions have become a place to dump garbage. Now, these walls are on the verge of collapsing. In fact the wall of the lake on the road towards Chor Bazar already collapsed and in sinking stage.

There are pathways constructed in front of Tata Parsi School where stand small eating joints, tea vendors, paan kiosks. No place remained for the family to stand and have a look at the lake. The Parsi Agyari, Tata Parsi School which have historical background. They would have looked beautiful had the pathways kept vacant by disallowing small shops to run their businesses. The private travel buses, trucks are parked on the road near these pathways and help these small businessmen in obscuring the lake view. The garden Savitribai Phule Udyan near the Jhulelal Mandir is also not in a good condition. The only silver lining is Bhauji Pagey garden situated on the island. It is the only place on this lake that everybody would like to visit. Somehow NMC has maintained it well and kept clean. This garden looks odd figure out on the lake.

Once Gandhisagar was a spot for committing suicide. Fortunately, the number has gone down. This lake once was a glory of the city. In fact it was the only lake known all over the city till 25 years ago. But, it is now in bad shape. The mismanagement of the authorities is one part but the public too is to be blamed. The people dump the garbage into the lake and nobody resist them from doing so. Authorities, too, have become careless. Due to mismanagement, this lake has become den of mosquitoes and other insects that spread infection. Will authorities would come out of their deep slumber ever? Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced that Sea-Plane would be started from this lake. If that comes true then it would become mandatory for the authorities to clean it. It is the only ray of hope.

Circular platforms once were the sitting place of people have become garbage accumulation centres.


This is the artificial immersion tank near the historical Shiva temple behind Tamhankar Ganesh Mandir, uncleaned since long. 


(Pics by Satish Raut)