Government to begin Rupa Lake conservation

Pokhara, January 1

The government is all set to launch a campaign to conserve Rupa lake in Kaski, whose condition has been deteriorating due to human encroachment.

The locals were elated after the government launched an Integrated Rupa lake Conservation Development project in the district. Minister for Irrigation Deepak Giri inaugurated the office of the project in the Lake City today.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers had decided to implement the conservation move on November 27.

The project will distribute reparation for personal land on the banks of the lake, besides building an embankment in the first phase of the conservation campaign. “The lake conservation campaign will gain momentum after allocation of the budget,” said Kul Prasad Adhikari, chairperson of Rupa lake Restoration and Fish Farming Cooperative.

As per the plan, an embankment with 600 metres length, five metres depth and 12 metres foundation below the water level will be built from Sistenighat to Subeditunda. The project will be completed with an estimated budget of one billion rupees.

Adhikari said the project will provide compensation for 190 ropani land in Rupakot VDC and 665 ropani land in Begnas and Mirchowk VDC, respectively while merging 900 ropani government land around the lake’s vicinity.

According to a survey in 1978, the lake covered as much as 135 hectare land. However, it has shrunk in area to 107 hectares at present and with the construction of the embankment, it will extend to 174.4 hectares.

According to a survey in 2007, a total of 800 ropani land belonging to the lake was encroached. At least five ropani land of the lake gets encroached every year.

“Though late, the government’s initiative to conserve the lake area is a welcome move. The government should also take initiatives to conserve other lakes in the Lake City,” said Laxmi Prasad Tripathi, chairperson of Lekhnath Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

The compensation distribution should be completed within eight months after the project begins. Senior divisional Engineer Shree Ram Joshi has been appointed chief of the project.

More than 40 tonnes of fish worth Rs 10 million is produced from Rupa lake every year while over 450 species of animals and plants are found in the lake area.

Of them, 24 species of fish, 36 species of birds and 11 species of mammals, among others are found in the lake. Scores of students and researchers visit the site for research as well as for sightseeing every day.