Story of Drona Sagar: Uttarakhand's endangered lake!
Drona Sagar is a picturesque lake located in Kashipur, Uttarakhand, which is known for its serene beauty and cultural significance. It is an important tourist attraction in Kashipur, with many visitors coming to enjoy its beauty and tranquility. At the same time, it also holds historical significance, as it is believed to have been created by the legendary warrior Dronacharya. Guru Dronacharya had taught the Pandavas and Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata. The lake is surrounded by temples and other important landmarks, making it a popular destination for pilgrims as well.
But despite its cultural and economic significance, this beautiful lake has been neglected for too long. While some efforts have been made in the past to preserve the lake, it is still facing several environmental threats.
Current State of Drona Sagar
The current state of Drona Sagar is alarming. It is heavily polluted due to the dumping of waste and sewage. The pollution has resulted in a significant deterioration of water quality, which is affecting the aquatic life in the lake. As a result, fish and other aquatic species are struggling to survive in the polluted water. This is causing a ripple effect on the food chain. Moreover, it could potentially lead to the extinction of some species.
Furthermore, the pollution in the lake is also causing health hazards to the locals of Kashipur who depend on the lake for their livelihood (swimming, boating, and other water sports). Polluted water can cause several diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid. This is especially concerning because many people in the area depend on the lake for fishing and irrigation.
A Lake in Need of Saving
The preservation of Drona Sagar is crucial for several reasons.
1. Cultural significance: Drona Sagar is a sacred place and has significant cultural importance for the people of Kashipur. Many festivals and rituals are conducted around the lake as it is a vital stop for pilgrims on the Char Dham Yatra.
2. Biodiversity and ecological importance: The lake is home to a diverse range of aquatic life, including fish, birds, and other species. The lake is an essential part of the local ecosystem. The lake also plays a crucial role in regulating the local climate and water cycle.
3. Economic benefits: Drona Sagar has the potential to attract tourists and generate revenue for the local economy by means of water sports activities. Its beauty and serene surroundings could attract nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, creating employment opportunities and boosting the local economy. It is also a source of irrigation and fishing, providing livelihoods to many people in the area.
Steps to Save Drona Sagar
Firstly, community involvement is essential in ensuring the lake’s preservation. That can be done by educating the locals about the importance of the lake and encouraging them to participate in its conservation. For instance, The Char Dham Yatra is a significant pilgrimage in Uttarakhand. But, the increased tourism it brings can have negative effects on natural and cultural attractions such as Drona Sagar. This rise in tourism can lead to pollution, littering, encroachment, habitat destruction, and overuse of resources. Hence, it calls for sustainable tourism practices, including waste management, conservation education, and eco-friendly accommodations.
Moreover, the benefits of tourism should be shared with local communities to incentivize the protection of the environment and cultural heritage sites. This will ensure that tourism contributes to the preservation and sustainable development of places like Drona Sagar.
Secondly, the government should intervene to curb pollution and ensure the proper disposal of waste and sewage. Thirdly, environmental conservation efforts, such as the plantation of trees and cleaning up the lake, should be initiated. These steps can help preserve the lake’s ecological balance and cultural significance.
KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) is a state government agency responsible for the development and promotion of tourism in Uttarakhand. The agency has proposed a plan to revive Drona Sagar, with a budget of five crores. The proposal includes several measures to address the environmental threats facing the lake, such as de-silting, sewage treatment, and fencing to prevent encroachment. It has also proposed to build a park that will include walking paths, benches, and other amenities. This will enhance the visitor experience, around the lake to attract more tourists and promote eco-tourism.
The KMVN proposal aims to boost tourism in the region while also preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the area. This will not only provide a recreational space for the local community. But, also attract tourists, generating income for the region.
The proposal has been approved by the government, and work is expected to begin soon. The revival of Drona Sagar through the KMVN proposal is an excellent example of sustainable tourism, where tourism is developed in a way that conserves the environment and benefits the local community.
The preservation of Drona Sagar is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and cultural significance of the region. The neglect of the lake has already led to severe environmental degradation and health hazards. Now it is high time for the community and the government to take steps to save the lake and preserve it for future generations.
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