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CRPF lake campaign inches closer to completion
- Commandant Singh promises to finish cleaning job in four water bodies within this week

Hazaribagh, Dec. 8: Mission accomplished.

CRPF jawans, who launched a crusade to rejuvenate the four historic Hazaribagh lakes, said their campaign was on the verge of completion.

Commandant of 22 battalion, CRPF, Munna Kumar Singh said they would complete the two-month-long work in another four to five days.

“What we did was beyond imagination and the CRPF has again proved that they can achieve the target whatever the assignment be,” he added.

Singh, who led the team of 25 jawans on a boat and carried out the cleaning from 7am to 6pm, said the fourth one was the toughest of all, as hyacinths had covered the water body completely. “Ab to pani charo taraf dikh raha hai (Now, water is visible everywhere),” said the commandant.

Singh, however, expressed his surprise over how Hazaribagh residents neglected biggest asset. “Very few place has such a picturesque spot and that too in heart of the town,” Singh added.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the commandant said it was hard to believe that none of the town people could devote half-an-hour for cleaning. “We had urged the residents to join hands, but none came forward,” he said.

But that did not deter the jawans from carrying out their task.

The campaign was launched on September 18 after deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar urged CRPF officials to do something to save the lakes.

Apart from hyacinths, the personnel are having a tough time removing grass from its banks. But, “We resolved to do it at any cost,” the CRPF commandant maintained.

“Humne apna kam achche se kar diya hain. Ab ise sambhal ke rakhne ki zimmedari Hazaribagh ki janata par hai. Logon ko samjhna chahiye ki shaher ke beecho beech stith jheel ek dharohar hai. (We have done our job. Now, the responsibilty lies with Hazaribagh residents, who must realise that these lakes are their heritage),” Singh added.

In 2012, a group of about 35 morning walkers formed an impromptu association to take up the cause of the dying lakes.

They even rustled up Rs 2.5 lakh, but lack of attention from government agencies left the lakes again crying for attention.

The history of the four lakes of Hazaribagh dates back to 1830s.

A tribal agitation had prompted then agent of East India Company Captain Wilkinson to order mass arrests. But, the town had no prison and the arrested tribals had to be lodged at various guest houses and houses of Englishmen.

In a fix, Wilkinson then ordered construction of a jail on more than 50 acres.

Construction work began in 1831 and was completed 30 years later to give what Hazaribagh today knows as Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan Central Jail.

The mammoth project had required colossal quantities of clay for which four giant craters were dug up. These later became lakes.

At present, the lake area is considered a high-security zone with a host of VIP addresses on its banks.