Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani lays the foundation of a gateway to Ranchi Lake on Tuesday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi’s historical — but much abused — water body may finally be looking at a life of dignity.
Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani on Tuesday laid the foundation of a gateway to the 169-year-old lake in the heart of the capital, rekindling hopes of hitherto elusive conservation efforts.
Nathwani has sanctioned around Rs 12 lakh from his MPLAD funds for the entrance, which will be 10-12ft wide, and also benches along the periphery of the lake to draw visitors.
“Last November, a 2ft concrete boundary wall had been raised around the lake and three ghats with stairways constructed with the MP’s help. The gate is expected to complete the lake’s defence, keeping hoodlums, drug peddlers and stray animals at bay,” said Mansoor Khan, a member of the Ranchi Jheel Bachao Samiti — the organisation spearheading a movement to protect the water body.
The cynosure of the city in its heydays, the Ranchi Lake has suffered neglect both from people and government over decades. Forget domestic use, the troubled waters are now no longer congenial to aquatic life.
“Manual pollution is the biggest bane. While local residents throw garbage and wash clothes in the lake, flawed urban planning channels drains to the water body. Neither successive state governments, nor the district administration has done anything to stop the menace. Water hyacinths further choked the lake,” Khan said.
He added that 3.5 lakh people were dependent on the lake, which helps in maintaining the groundwater table.
The Ranchi Municipal Corporation, for one, had mooted several plans in the past, including conservation of the lake under a central scheme, but bureaucratic hurdles crippled all. Only after active campaigning by social organisations, the lake was cleaned to a certain extent late last year.
“Fortunately, the awareness level among people has now increased. Also, the administration seems serious about developing the lake. We hope it will be on the tourist map in the real sense,” said Rajeev Ranjan Mishra, the convener of the Samiti. “We are trying our best to beautify the place with help from the local administration and some dedicated individuals,” he added.
Nathwani hoped that the funds he sanctioned for the job would yield desired results. “Ranchi Lake is a picturesque location, with the potential to attract tourists. In my capacity, I have always encouraged improvement of amenities to make this city a beautiful place to live in,” he said.