The Telegraph
Monday , March 24 , 2014
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Channel trips over land hitch
BDA’s 3-lake plan on hold

Bhubaneswar, March 23: The idea to have three lakes for recreation on the banks of channel No.10 was conceptualised two years ago, but problems over land acquisition have come in the way of the project’s implementation.

Officials of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority claim that they will be able to start the renovation project once land-related issues are resolved.

The BDA had planned to renovate the drainage channel, develop three artificial lakes along the water body and equip the places with modern recreation facilities.

The stretches identified along the natural drainage channel were at BDA City Centre between Vidyut Marg and Sachivalaya Marg, Unit-IX between Sachivalaya Marg and Janpath and Satya Nagar between Janpath and railway line.

A BDA official said that beautification plan included landscaping, waterfront development, recreation facilities such as boating, shopping, jogging track, attractive lights, musical fountains and adequate place for parking.

A source in the BDA said that while the area of the three lakes would vary between 20 and 30 acres, the water bodies would also provide a cooling effect to the localities nearby.

The city has been experiencing a rapid rise in temperature for the last few years due to changing weather patterns and rapid urbanisation.

“On both sides of the channel there is government as well as private land. Besides, many people have encroached on government land. We had paid compensation to some of the residents, but we are yet to get the land,” said Ashok N. Dhar, chief horticulturist (in-charge), BDA.

The BDA had planned to renovate the 5.48km long natural drainage channel No. 10, which originates from Nayapalli, at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore.

The BDA’s first attempt at a similar project was in the late 90s. The BDA-Nicco Park, which was renamed BDA City Centre in 2008, on the bank of the channel No. 10 was built for recreation facilities.

The channel was used for amusement activities such as boating. Initially, the channel used to carry rainwater, but people shunned the facility when sewerage water began to flow in it.

“We will try to segregate sewerage water through an underground channel and there would be other outlet for the flow of rainwater. We will ensure that the lakes have adequate water throughout the year for the project to run smoothly,” said a BDA officer in the engineering section.

Bijay Mishra, an environmentalist, said that during his college days the BDA City Centre was a much-sought-after destination for pedal boating as the lake was a huge water body.

But footfall began to drop as the natural drainage channel got polluted.

A BDA official said that they would consult experts, including ecologists, for the development of the project.

Apart from the three-lake plan on the natural drainage channel No. 10 there was a proposal to develop a lake near Rajendra Vihar from where drainage channel No. 7 originates.

However, the plan was abandoned in late 90s. This was done to address future expansion plan for the runway of the city airport. The project was not carried forward also because the movement of birds, which would have made trees near the lake their home, might endanger the safety of aeroplanes.