Three fountains at Rabindra Sarobar, which had triggered protests from the city’s rowing fraternity, were removed on Tuesday morning, a week after their installation.
The fountains had been installed by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the custodian of the lake, to increase the waterbody’s dissolved oxygen levels. They had been installed at the Dhakuria end of the waterbody.
“The fountains were temporary structures. We dismantled them this morning,” said an engineer of the agency.
The rowing fraternity welcomed the move.
“This is a welcome decision. We want to thank the authorities. Our rowers will start practice immediately. An international junior tournament is to be held in Bhopal in November. The junior nationals are also due in Pune next month, for which we will have selections in the middle of this month,” said Anirudhha Mookerjee, secretary, West Bengal Rowing Association.
Mookerjee had written to the CEO of the KMDA after the fountains were installed.
“Such installations would adversely affect the future of all male and female athletes from the age group of 11 years and above who are pursuing for excellence in rowing in national and international level on the only water stretch available in the state of West Bengal since last century,” the letter had said.
The lake is a one-of-its-kind rowing course in Bengal.
Rowing is a sport where the boat moves backwards, although the rowers look ahead. The fountains were deemed risky because any obstruction behind the boat can be dangerous, said rowers.
Rowers feared a clash with the fountains could damage equipment and cause physical damage to them. The practice sessions were suspended because of the fountains.
The KMDA said protecting the lake was on the top of their list, especially following a drop in the oxygen levels, which led to dead fish found floating on the surface on several days in the recent past.
“Our position remains the same. The health of the lake is our top priority. We will come up with some other measures very soon. The lake is an asset that belongs to every Kolkatan,” said a senior official of KMDA.
“We are exploring various methodologies to improve the aeration of the lake. After Diwali and Chhath, we will have brainstorming sessions with the best possible resources to find a solution that is holistic, long-term and inclusive,” said the official.