Begusarai’s Kanwar lake | Once a migratory bird paradise, now struggles for survival

The lake, which used to be a popular tourist spot, has fallen victim to encroachments and is now battling for its existence.

Updated - May 15, 2024 02:56 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2024 01:05 pm IST

Originally spread over nearly 7,000 hectares, the lake has served as a destination for migratory birds and was home to several aquatic species.

Originally spread over nearly 7,000 hectares, the lake has served as a destination for migratory birds and was home to several aquatic species. | Photo Credit: PTI

Once a haven for migratory birds, Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake, Kanwar, located in Bihar’s Begusarai, is gradually disappearing.

An oxbow lake is a curved lake formed alongside a winding river as a result of erosion and sediment deposition over time. Oxbow lakes are typically crescent-shaped and are common features in floodplains and low-lying areas near rivers.

The lake, which used to be a popular tourist spot, has fallen victim to encroachments and is now battling for its existence.

Kanwar lake now struggles for survival

Originally spread over nearly 7,000 hectares, the lake has served as a destination for migratory birds and was home to several aquatic species.

It was first declared a protected area by the State government in 1986, and later, a sanctuary by the Central Government, to prevent poaching of birds.

However, unrestrained encroachment of land and construction of embankment on the near-by Burhi Gandak river has choked the major water inlet to the wetland.

Tourists coming here express disappointment when they see the condition of the lake, which bears no resemblance to the descriptions they have read or heard about.

Both locals and tourists believe that if the government makes efforts to revive the lake, it could regain its former glory and become a major tourist attraction, providing various employment opportunities for locals.

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