Skip to main content

13th-century water body in Delhi dying for lack of attention, sustained revival plan (downtoearth)

One of the most historical water bodies, Hauz-e-Shamsi, is shrinking. Residents around this water body fear its extinction. Once spread over 100 hectares, this water body (locally known as the Shamsi talaab) has shrunk into a patch of filthy water over the years. Rainwater from nearby catchments is the only source of water to the lake. Due to concretisation, there has been a massive loss in water restored to the lake. “Loss of catchments, dumping of waste, sewage discharge and lack of political will are some of the cited reasons behind the present state of Shamshi talab,” says Lalit Gupta, secretary of the Shamsi Talaab Resident Welfare association (Mehrauli).

The water reservoir comes under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). “Seeing the dismal state of water body, we went to the ASI for support for cleaning and maintaining sufficient water by redirecting surplus water from nearby sewage treatment plants. We only got assurance of regular cleaning, which was also not taken up after 2015. Despite all promises, nothing is done on ground,” adds Gupta. Praveen Singh, superintending archaeologist at ASI has a different narrative, “We are working on cleaning and restoring the water body and nearby monuments. The water-related issues such as desilting and refilling are not in our jurisdiction. We are planning to work in collaboration with Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to look into this matter. To facilitate the process, we are also interested in making provision of funding as well.”

Once a water-sufficient reservoir, it now looks like a mosquito-breeding site full of aquatic weeds. Credit: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
Once a water-sufficient reservoir, it now looks like a mosquito-breeding site full of aquatic weeds. Credit: Vikas Choudhary / CSE

There are channels and drains that are connected to the reservoir to divert rainwater from available catchments, but this is not sufficient enough to maintain appropriate level of water. To address this, community came forward and started a local initiative led by the association. They targeted municipal sewage drains that collect sewerage from neighboring colonies. This drain is present along the lake. To treat sewage water and to use treated water to fill lake, members of the community established a decentralised sewage treatment plant (STP) by spending Rs 60,000. After initial operationalisation of four to five months, they found that the water level rose upto to 10 feet. The regular water quality monitoring was also done by the residents itself. But ASI officials closed the unit and promised a new treatment system in collaboration with DJB in due course of time. “Till date, no work has been undertaken by either DJB or ASI. They are just empty promises and nothing more than that,” adds Gupta.  

V K Jain, founder of Delhi-based non-profit Tapas, who moved court for saving Delhi’s lake and water bodies, says, “We received order from courts for cleaning water bodies several times, but a regular monitoring and cleaning is never done. Initially, it was done for two or three year, but then the programme stopped. Frequency was never maintained for cleaning activities, hence, whole exercise lost its value.” Even if the lake is cleaned regularly, the concern is the lowering water level. It is time we realised that if water level is not maintained, the remaining aquatic life in the lake will soon disappear. “Treated wastewater available from nearby operational STPs with BOD (biological oxygen demand) level less than 3 mg/L can be a good alternative to filling the lake,” adds Jain.

The present situation of Shamsi Talab is a result of the apathy of government agencies. Once a water-sufficient lake now looks like an unhygienic, mosquito-breeding site full of aquatic weeds. Apart from creating awareness, there is an urgent need to make provision for water supply to the lake, in addition to regular cleaning and desilting. Otherwise, it will soon be lost and turn into a dry dumping ground.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Indian Polity Elections (MCQ )

1. Who of the following has the responsibility of the registration of voters
a) Individual voters
b) Government
c) Election commission
d) Corporations


2. Democracy exists in India, without peoples participation and co operation democracy will fail. This implies that
a) Government should compel people to participate and cooperate with it
b) People from the government
c) People should participate and cooperate with the government
d) India should opt for the presidential system


3. Which of the following are not the functions of the election commission
1) Conduct of election for the post of the speaker and the deputy speaker, Lok sabha and the deputy chairman, Rajya sabha
2) Conduct of elections to the state legislative assemblies
3) Deciding on all doubts and disputes arising out of elections

a) 1 and 2
b) 1 and 3
c) 2 and 3
d) 2

4. Which of the following electoral systems have not been adopted for various elections in India
1) System of direct elections on the basis of adult suffrage
2…

El Nino may make a comeback in 2017, but unlikely to affect southwest monsoon (downtoearth,)

In 2016, the world witnessed the strongest El Nino on record, which resulted in above average temperatures. The year experiences record-breaking heat for nine consecutive months. It had also ruined the Indian monsoon for two years. After two successive droughts in 2014 and 2015, last year witnessed erratic rainfall both in terms of geographical spread and time. Thanks to El Nino, the southwest monsoon in 2014 and 2015 witnessed a deficit of 11 and 14 per cent respectively.

While the 2016 monsoon season in India saw 97 per cent rainfall, it was far less than the 106 per cent that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast in July. The lesser-than-expected rainfall, especially in the second half of the monsoon season, has been attributed to the absence of a strong La Nina phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is known to help the Indian monsoon.

According to a recent forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s a 50 per cent chan…

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 21 December 2016

Q.1- Which of the following is/are correct regarding Nirbhaya missile?

1. It is a cruise missile
2. It is hypersonic in speed
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.2- Khanjar-III is military exercise between which of the following countries?

A. India and Russia
B. Russia and China
C. India and Kyrgyzstan
D. Russia and Afghanistan

Q.3- UPI has been in news recently, what is the full form of UPI?

A. Unified Payment Interchange
B. Unified Payment Interface
C. Unified process interchange
D. Unified process interface
 .
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Answer  1-A, 2 -C, 3-B