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HomeHimachal PradeshRewalsar Lake near Himachal’s Mandi town is “dying”

Rewalsar Lake near Himachal’s Mandi town is “dying”

Depth of lake decreasing alarmingly due to multiple factors

Govt failing to protect the ‘holy’ lake

The Newz Radar, Mandi

Rewalsar Lake, located at a distance of 24 km from here is crying for attention. The alarming pollution levels, sewerage discharge in the lake, poor drainage system, siltation, sedimentation, excess growth of weeds, littering and feeding of fish by visitors, flooding rainwater and non-channelisation of small rivulets flowing down from the hills to the lake have eventually brought the holy lake to the verge of extinction.

A local NGO, Development Action Group (DAG), which has been working consistently for the protection, preservation and conservation of the holy lake has raised serious concerns about the survival of the lake which according to their study is on the verge of extinction if no concrete efforts were adopted by the state and Central government.

The NGO has emerged pioneer in implementing a complete ban on the feeding of fish, which was one of the major sources of pollution in the lake. They sprung into action when the water of the lake turned muddy leading to the death of tons of fish in 2017.

Then onwards a complete ban was imposed by the administration on feeding the fish with the help of the NGO whose volunteers keep round-the-clock vigil at the lake which spreads over 2.6 hectares of land.

DAG managing director Naresh Sharma disclosed that the gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the depth of the lake, which was 21.5 feet in 1996, became 18 feet in the next 10 years. In September 2022 when the measurement was done again, it was reduced to 15 feet.

“The reason behind this is silt and muck which flows down with the rivulets connecting the lake. Due to non-channelisation of all the rivulets, silt and muck flow into the lake thus decreasing its depth every day,” said Sharma.

“The forest department has failed to control illegal dumping of muck in Kanalu ka Nala during the ongoing construction of Naina Devi road, which is the major source of the flow of debris in the lake,” he said.

Lack of poor drainage system was also playing havoc with the lake, he added. “Though a proper drainage system was built around the lake at a cost of Rs 90 lakh it was completely destroyed in the first rainy season”, claimed the MD.

Despite several representations in the past, the administration has yet to implement a proper sewage system to prevent pollution of the lake. Even the rainwater and the road water slips inside the lake are polluting it further.

A research study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun and Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad a few years back titled “Rapid sedimentation history of Rewalsar Lake, lesser Himalaya, India during the last 50 years…” found an average sedimentation rate of 3.35 cm/year which is found to be the highest in comparison to the other lakes in the north-western Himalayan region.

The study further added, “Rather, human interference, in terms of civil constructions and growth of township in the lake catchment area appears to be the most plausible factor controlling the sedimentation rate during the past 50 years. An early action plan is required to be followed up by the concerned authority to arrest the extremely higher sedimentation rate at Rewalsar Lake and to protect the water body from faster degradation”.

A delegation headed by the secretary, Om Prakash of DAC, met Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and later state minister Jagat Singh Negi who visited the lake recently and apprised them of the alarming situation of the decreasing depth level of the lake.

“We told them how the depth level of the lake was decreasing at an alarming rate which could only be restored by de-silting the lake in a technical manner”, he said. The Chief Minister granted a sum of Rs 2 crore verbally whose sanction letter is awaited.

The secretary further disclosed that their NGO had approached the State Wetland Authority (SWA) for a complete scientific and technical examination of the health of the lake couple of months back.


“SWA has contacted the National Institute of Hydrology, Dehra Dun, whose officials shall be visiting the lake next week for a detailed study for three months,” he said.

“In April 2016, the National Green Tribunal ordered a ban on the use of plastic around the lake, which was hardly followed. The NGT had pointed out the complete failure of the government to protect the lake. The Tribunal had constituted a four-member high-level committee comprising secretary, HP Pollution Control Board the secretary, Environment, and secretary, Irrigation and Public Health. The committee was supposed to submit a comprehensive report on possible solutions for the restoration of the original condition of the lake. God knows what happened to that report and the committee,” said Omprakash.



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