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Dalma, Dimna eye a makeover

- 3-member team suggests ways to preserve hills, lake

The forest department is preparing a joint conservation plan for Dalma hills and Dimna lake on the outskirts of Jamshedpur.

To start with, a three-member team is being formed for a preliminary survey of the lake, the main source of water for the entire steel city.

About three weeks ago, Kolhan commissioner Alok Goyal issued a directive in this regard, asking the forest department to form a team that will include an executive engineer (water) and a Tata Steel representative, apart from the Dalma range officer.

In the first phase, the team will aim to prepare a report of the status on Dimna lake, indicating the amount of water being extracted by Tata Steel for its usage and the city’s civic needs. This apart, the team will also find out if there are any threats to the water body and suggest ways to counter them.

After the government of India notified an eco-zone around the Dalma sanctuary in 2011, this initiative assumes significance as it will help redefine the areas in close proximity to the hills and take steps to conserve overall health of the sanctuary.

“The Dimna lake draws life from perennial drains and rivulets that flow down from the Dalma hulls round the year. Well-being of the lake is entirely dependent on the health of the hills. So, we first want to ascertain how much water is being drawn from the lake on daily and annual bases. Depending on the survey report, we may propose some user charges in the final conservation plan to maintain the health of both the hills and the lake,” explained a forest official.

He added that the conservation plan would also include proposals to protect the hill slopes, heritage sites, and develop eco-tourism, among others.

Forest department sources said the survey would start as soon as Tata Steel suggested a name from their side for the committee.

“We hope to form the team and start a formal survey within a month. We will wait a couple of week for company officials to recommend a name, else we will start the work anyway,” said a forest department official involved with activities in Dalma.

When contacted, Kolhan commission Goyal said, “As per the eco-zone gazette notification, an overall Dalma conservation plan has to be made both at macro and micro levels. Once things get going, a consultancy will be roped in for preparing an exhaustive plan.”

Notably, two crucial biodiversity conservation plans are still hanging fire in Jharkhand. The Saranda Biodiversity Conservation Plan, prepared roughly around six months ago, is gathering dust at the state forest department for the government is yet to accept proposals submitted by an expert team.

Similarly, the status of north Karanpura biodiversity plan is anybody’s guess. The team appointed for the ground survey is yet to submit the report to the government, though the study was completed last June.