Article courtesy of Anjaya Anparthi, TNN | December 14, 2012 | Times of India
NAGPUR: It seems the seriousness of the Central and State government about conservation of environment and water bodies lie only on papers. The proposals for rejuvenation of the city’s iconic Nag river and nine other lakes have been making rounds on papers for the last four years. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is sitting pretty on the slow death of city’s precious water bodies.
This November, the proposals sent to the state government had turned four years. The Nag river proposal moved a step forward in April, but is again back into cold storage. Similarly, the proposal for the lakes too came to limelight in May and has been crying for attention since then.
Criticizing the government and the civic body, veteran social activist Umesh Choubey told TOI that the proposals may be termed as a decade old. “We demanded that the state government sanction funds for the rejuvenation of Nag river and lakes in 2002. Then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had even announced publicly that he would sanction funds during the city’s tri-centenary celebrations in 2002. Nothing has happened in the interest of the city in these 10 years. The NMC is sitting idle as it is ruled by the BJP, while the Congress government is not taking the proposals seriously,” he said.
The pollution in Nag river and the city’s lakes has been increasing with every passing year. The NMC and NIT reportedly turned the Nag, Pilli and Pora rivers flowing through the city into sewage drains. Even though the condition of the lakes has become even more serious, the NMC, with an annual budget of Rs1,200 crore, did nothing for the conservation of water bodies as it was depending on the government.
However, showing some interest, the state government submitted the rejuvenation proposal of Nag river with the Centre under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) launched in 1996. The proposal is still pending. A team from the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) visited the city in April and asked the NMC to submit the revised proposal after accommodating few suggestions. As usual, the civic body submitted the revised proposal only few days ago.
Similarly, the state approved 2 of total 11 lakes’ proposals in March 2010. Since then, the proposal of remaining nine lakes has been pending.
NMC is yet to start works at Gandhisagar lake despite getting approval for it two years ago. However, the works at Sonegaon lake are in final stage. In May, the proposals of two more lakes – Ambazari and Futala were reportedly sent to the Centre from the state government which witnessed no development till date.
A senior NMC official said that the pollution in Nag river has reached serious proportion as it is linked with multi-crore Gosikhurd irrigation project. “Untreated sewage flowing into Nag river is contaminating Gosikhurd project. NMC initiated three projects to augment sewage treatment capacity. But much depends on the Nag river proposal. It will be possible to collect and treat sewage generated from the city, if it gets approval of Nag river proposal,” he said.