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Ramgarh-Taal becomes protected wetland

Ramgarh-Taal becomes protected wetland

 

Gorakhpur: The Ramgarh Taal in Gorakhpur, the home town of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has become the first notified and ‘protected’ wetland in the country which lies within city limits, and outside forest.

The Ramgarh Taal is a perennial ox-bow lake towards the eastern side of Gorakhpur town, just behind the university campus. According to a study of Gorakhpur Environment Action Group, the lake has a saucer shaped basin with a gentle slope from the margin. It is one of the biggest in eastern Uttar Pradesh and finds place in the local folklore and mythology. Researchers of the Geography departments of Gorakhpur and Banaras Hindu University have claimed that the Rapti was famous for its meandering from ancient times. They claim on the basis of geographical and geological evidence that it used to flow once through almost the centre of the city, where the Gorakhnath temple is situated at present. Over the centuries it shifted westwards.

Ramgarh-Taal becomes protected wetland

The water sources for the lake are the Godhoia nala and the Jungle Tulsiram (Bichia) nala that drain the waters of the north-east and northern areas of the city respectively. Additionally, the run-off from surrounding highlands and fields drains into the lake. The total catchment area of the lake is estimated to be 120 sq.km. Traditionally, the lake was of immense value to the citizens of Gorakhpur. However, over time, with the lake dying a slow death, many are adversely affected.

Now, after being declared a ‘protected’ wetland, efforts have been started to conserve the 737-hectare water body. The final notification would be issues soon after technical analysis and hearing objections.

No new industrial unit and expansion of existing units would be allowed in the radius of 50 meters. There will be sewage treatment plants, incinerators and mechanism to segregate solid waste to reduce pollution in the wetland. The conservation effort will also involve developing a connect between people and wetlands like promoting eco-tourism, fisheries and other economic activities.

Yogi had a dream for this lake to develop it on the lakes in Bhopal and Udaipur not only for the local citizens but also tourists and Buddhist pilgrims.

Ramgarh-Taal becomes protected wetland

There were many obstacles before this dream. The lake was used to discharge municipality wastes, including solid wastes. According to the report, the lake has shrunk 32 acres in the 55 years between 1916 and 2007. In the last 30 years period alone the lake’s size reduced by 12% of that in 1916 to about 1700 acres. It is apprehended that at this rate, the lake will soon live in people’s memories only. The shrinking in size is accompanied by a reduction of the lake’s depth. In 1969, the depth of the lake was 4.5 m while in 2006 it was found to be 3.8m. In 1996, the sedimentation rate of the lake, due to solid wastes deposited in it, was 5 cm annually.

But Yogi’s efforts are now bearing the fruits. Soon Gorakhpur will see a beautiful zoo adjacent to the lake along with water sports park.

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