In Srinagar's footsteps?
Unplanned urbanisation is killing lakes that have saved Raipur from floods for over 1,000 years
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