Rupa and other lakes: Need to rescue them

It is the most profitable way for the foreign returned youths of the locality to invest in the development of Rupa Lake rather than risking their savings in the construction of multi-storied buildings that have no sustainable guarantee

Perhaps Rupa Lake might be cursing itself for being stationed in a place where the local inhabitants are not at all concerned about its fast deteriorating condition from the environmental point of view. The local residents are traditionally conservative and are basically confined with their own economic activities and are also less informed about the long term economic benefits from the assets of nature. Being located in a rural area, the lake doesn’t receive enough attention of the dwellers as most of the literate and efficient people are away for employment within and outside the country. Hence the place houses mostly women and their dependents mainly the children and the senior citizens and as such the lake is left on its own. The impact of climate change on the lake is evident from the fact that the water level of the lake is receding annually due to inflow of less water from Talbesi stream and feeder stream Dhovan Khola. In short the water sources that feed the lake are drying up.

It is well known that Lekhnath Municipality is identified with its crystal clear lakes, scenic and panoramic natural settings, intangible snow-bathed mountain peaks and patches of greenery all around. Being adjacent to Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City, a tourist rendezvous, Lekhnath has all the scope and potentialities of an ideal tourist destination and it should be treated as personal wealth and conserved as such.

Attractive booklets, brochures and pamphlets carry breathtaking sights of the seven lakes of Lekhnath in their finest settings. Such publicity campaigns are mainly carried out with the sole purpose of drawing the attention of the domestic and international tourists. Imagine what would a tourist think when he/she lands to have a glimpse of such wonderful place glorified in the print media? Perhaps he/she might feel cheated and develop a negative attitude towards us for letting them exhaust their dollars for nothing. Sooner or later, the identity of Lekhnath as the “Garden City of Seven Lakes” is bound to be tarnished if immediate measures are not adopted to rescue the lakes from their perilous state. The so called lakes have started turning into ponds and soon some of them might disappear altogether. So it is high time for us to focus our attention on this grave environmental catastrophe and initiate necessary actions from our own level to preserve the lakes from disappearing and to upgrade this municipality as one of the favourite tourist destinations in Nepal.

The Rupa Lake which has been made immortal in songs and poems and in numerous literature is desperately struggling to maintain its status quo. The receding water level of the lake is a matter of serious concern to anyone who has due respect for the law of nature. Despite this development, the localities are unperturbed and they are constantly threatening its existence by encroaching it from every aspect and thereby putting at risk the survival of innumerable beings that have been thriving so well in and around the lake sites for ages. The lake is slowly but steadily losing its natural charm due to human encroachment. The water is no more crystal clear but it seems to be a combination of different colours. To cut the whole story short, the lake is getting relegated to a dumping site for twigs, branches, floating carcass of animals and drainage of sewage from the adjacent areas. On top of that, the lake has also become a site for animal bathing, cloth washing and a picnic spot, where all the filth and leftover are cast into the lake after joyous feasts by the picnickers.

Rupa Lake is an asset for the local inhabitants and if due importance is given to its conservation and promotion then there is bound to be rapid socio-economic development of the whole adjoining areas. Where there is a will there is a way. If the people have will and firm determination to accomplish something then there is no power that can stop them from hitting the bull’s eye.

The lake is in desperate need of our help to restore it in its original status. So, it is the right movement for all the localities to get together and simultaneously voice concern over the deteriorating state of Lake Rupa. Pressure needs to be exerted on those at the helm of affairs to undertake activities so as to rescue the lake from its dilapidated condition. The immediate requirement is the construction of an embankment and to check the fallow shore being encroached upon. Public-private partnership is very essential for such an undertaking.

Not only Rupa, other lakes in the municipality also require development work for their conservation. The Lekhnath Municipality office needs to chart out plans, programme and policies and such initiatives should be made transparent to the people. As people’s participation is one of the prerequisites of development, the project implementing body, mainly the municipality, should mobilize the human resources in the most effective manner.

So, the point is that the investors must invest their hard-earned money in something durable and long-lasting and from where they would get suitable return. It is the most profitable way for the foreign returned youths of the locality to invest in the development of Rupa Lake rather than risking their savings in the construction of multi-storied buildings that have no sustainable guarantee.