In Sri­na­gar's foot­steps?

Un­planned ur­ban­i­sa­tion is killing lakes that have saved Raipur from floods for over 1,000 years

Down to Earth - - LAKES - ANU­PAM CHAKRAVARTTY |

Rtalk about the lakes AIPUR RES­I­DENTS in their city as if they are a fam­ily. Some lakes are ma­mas and bhan­jas (ma­ter­nal un­cles and neph­ews), oth­ers are sis­ters,and a few are even mar­ried to each other.The city’s love for hu­man-made lakes started a thou­sand years ago, when the rulers of Chhattisgarh started con­struct­ing wa­ter bod­ies to en­sure steady wa­ter sup­ply through­out the year.The old­est lake, Budha Talab,was con­structed in the 10th cen­tury by Raja Brahma Dev and the most re­cent one, Telibanda, in 1935. Rulers con­tin­ued the trend through the years be­cause they re­alised this was the only way to con­serve rain­wa­ter in the area that has non-por­ous soil.At its peak, Raipur had around 200 lakes.

To­day’s Raipur is a far cry from its past, with just 40 lakes re­main­ing,many of which are near­ing ex­tinc­tion. Of­fi­cial data shows the city has lost more than 100 lakes in the past 25 years or four lakes a year.The rea­son: un­planned and rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion, clubbed with gov­ern­ment apathy. “The un­du­lat­ing land­scape of the city, which at one point of time was sup­port­ing th­ese lakes, has been en­croached upon by build­ings, leav­ing no space for wa­ter to move.The en­croach­ment on lakes leads to floods dur­ing the mon­soon,” says Ni­nad Bod­hankar, a pro­fes­sor with the

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