Environmentalists moot ‘twinning’ for Jaipur’s Man Sagar lake

August 08, 2014 12:00 am | Updated 05:38 am IST - JAIPUR:

Environmentalists here are working on a 'twinning' initiative to better protect and conserve the 400-year-old Man Sagar lake on the northern side of this historic city. Situated in the middle of the lake is the world famous Jal Mahal resort.

Britain's lake managers are being approached for formulating mutually accepted programmes for better conservation of aquatic bodies, Man Sagar lake to begin with. Unlike in India, majority of the lakes in Britain are in private hands.

“The objective is also aimed at offering a new tool to decision-makers in government to manage water bodies more appropriately. It has the potential to promote exchange programmes for students and teachers between India and the United Kingdom,” Jaipur-based conservationist Harsh Vardhan told The Hindu.

Close to 10 water bodies around Jaipur have disappeared in the recent past. Two lakes -- Kanota and Chandlai-- on the outskirts are choking fast because of unchecked flow of city's sewerage.

Rick Simpson, chief executive of 'Wader Quest', a charity programme he administers for conservation of wader species of birds on behalf of BirdLife International, has already begun exploring an appropriate lake in England that can be twinned with Man Sagar. He discussed the issue with lake managers last week.

Mooting the idea, Mr Harsh Vardhan invited attention of conservation leaders in Britain to adopt `tiwnning' as a new approach. As Executive Director of The Thames Rover Restoration Trust, Robert Oates inspected Man Sagar lake thrice and favoured such a programme.

Tim Appleton, co-organiser of the British Bird Watching Fair in England has already suggested twinning Man Sagar with the Rutland Water in Oakham, venue of the Fair which completed its silver jubilee last August.

Man Sagar lake has been restored successfully with its aquatic health improving in the past few years to an extent that the foul stench has disappeared totally, water quality has improved, and over all inhaling environment has also improved. However, according to Mr Harsh Vardhan the lake does not still have aquatic vegetation that acts as feed for birds and improves the water quality of this 1.25 sq km water body. The conservation has been carried out through a public-private partnership between the State government and a private party which maintains the Jal Mahal resort.

The Tourism and Wildlife Society of India holds the annual Birding Fair at this lake since 1997. The Society representative will visit Britain next week to attend the British Bird Fair to canvass for 'twinning'. For this, a Man Sagar information kit has been made which would be distributed to the visitors there.

Once the conservationist finalise an agreement among themselves, it would be placed before the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) which maintains the lake, for implementation.

Mr Simpson was in India a few months ago to observe six wader species in order to widen his `Wader Quest' appeal to conserve the Spoon-billed Sandpiper found here.

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