Gunde lake on verge of extinction

Pokhara, June 17

Gunde Lake in Pokhara metropolis, Kaski, is on the verge of extinction, while authorities here remain apathetic towards its conservation.

Back in the late 90s, then Lekhnath Municipality had mooted a plan to develop a garden city by incorporating the seven lakes here, including Gunde. Let alone implementing of the proposed project, government authorities here have failed to take initiative to even conserve the lake so far.

Local Kuldeep Baral lamented encroachment in the surroundings of the lake. “As land owners continue to encroach the banks of the lake, the water body is shrinking day by day and facing a threat to its existence,” said Baral, adding that the locals had joined hands for conservation of the lake after no government authority showed interest in the same.

Among organisations that have started the conservation drive are Environment and Fishery Cooperatives and Gunde Lake Conservation Committee.

In the first phase of the conservation campaign, the lake area was demarcated and a foot track was developed around the lake. Similarly, fish were released in the lake, which figures on the Ramsar list. “As many Himalayan birds flock to Gunde Lake to avoid the extreme cold during autumn and winter, we could develop the lake as a bird-watching site,” said Gunde Lake Conservation Committee Chairperson Surya Bhandari.

The lake occupies 12.38 hectare land and is two metres deep. A local, Suman Bhattarai said Gunde lake was named after a species of grass straw that grew in the lake and was used to make traditional straw mat (known as gundri). Ward Number 26 of the metropolis is home to three lakes: Khaste and Nyureni, and Gunde.