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Fence to ward off lake polluters

After being cleared of water hyacinths, historical Ranchi Lake is being fenced to protect it from encroachment and pollution.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has begun erecting a barbed wire fence around the periphery of the lake that is spread over 53 acres. The work, which began four days ago, has already covered a 100m stretch near Nagar Mal Modi Seva Sadan and the entire boundary would be fenced in a fortnight. However, the ambitious beautification plan for the massive water body in the heart of the state capital remains in limbo.

“We are fencing the lake to ensure the water body is protected from encroachment and people do not throw garbage on the banks. Rs 1.30 lakh has been earmarked for the task,” RMC public relations officer Naresh Sinha said.

The civic body’s move to erect the wire fence follows successful efforts by residents to clear the lake of water hyacinths and also remove garbage.

Commonly known as Bara Talab, Ranchi Lake was dug in 1842 by British agent Colonel Onsely with the help of prisoners to maintain the groundwater level of the city, which is located more than 2,100ft above sea level.

However, over the years, lack of upkeep, disposal of sewage and even encroachment threatened the very existence of the lake.

As hyacinth had covered a large area of the water body, residents of the locality in June this year formed Ranchi Jhil Bachao Abhiyan Samiti and embarked on a campaign to clean the lake. After members of the association joined hands to weed out hyacinth, the civic body was forced to sit up and engage workers to clean the lake.

Immersion of idols apart, the lake was being polluted by some local residents who threw garbage near it, a practice the fencing would put a stop to.

Nearly two years ago, the civic body had prepared a Rs 4 crore plan for the beautification of the water body. However, given the extent of pollution in the lake, the plan was found to be unfeasible.

As costs escalated, the civic body decided to take financial help from National Lake Conservation Project (NLCP) of the Centre to properly beautify the water body. The civic body handed the task of preparing a detailed project report to MSV International, a consultancy firm. While RMC officials said they would be in a position to reveal the total estimate of the project only after the DPR was ready, sources said MSV International was preparing a Rs 25-26 crore blueprint.

“The agency is close to finalising the DPR for beautifying the lake. We would be sending the same to the state government,” said Sinha.