Green Visionary’s Blueprint: Swift Action Urged for Pandhrabodi Lake Revival

Nagpur: In a fervent move towards transforming the historic Pandhrabodi Lake in Ram Nagar into an ‘Amrit Sarovar,’ a recent feasibility report has been submitted to the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), endorsing a rapid rejuvenation strategy. Two years after the commitment made by Nitin Gadkari, the Minister of Highways and Road Transport, the proposal aims to employ sustainable technologies, eco-friendly practices, and extensive dredging of the lake bed.

On July 17, 2022, at LIT College, Gadkari, dedicated 1.25 lakh saplings across national highways, unveiling the ambitious ‘Amrit Sarovar Abhiyan.’ The Public Works Department (NH Division) will spearhead the revitalization of Pandhrabodi and Telangkhedi lakes, utilizing extracted silt and soil for an ongoing flyover project on Amravati road.

Green Crusader’s Initiative

The driving force behind the Pandhrabodi Lake (Ram Nagar) rejuvenation project is environmentalist Baba Deshpande of Vruksha Savwardhan Samiti, Gokulpeth. Deshpande’s vision involves redirecting rainwater from the hillocks of LIT College, potentially revitalizing the dwindling water body located merely 500 meters away.

“For the last 4 years, I’ve been advocating for this project, a potential boon for the city. The lake’s water can serve dual purposes—watering plantations and cement roads. Currently, nullah water irrigates plants on the median,” Deshpande highlighted.

Feasibility Recommendations

City environmental consultant Sandeep Shirkhedkar’s feasibility report advocates measures such as restricting sewage entry, constructing wetlands, and implementing a sewage collection system with an STP. The report emphasizes impounding stormwater, increasing the lake’s capacity, and dredging the silt-laden bed to unlock its immense potential for restoration.

Funding Hurdles

Despite a recent meeting involving NIT chairman Manoj Suryawanshi, Baba Deshpande, former VIDC chief engineer Sanjay Kholapurkar, and NIT executive engineer Prashant Bhandarkar, financial constraints hinder project progression. NIT officials, citing insufficient funds, are yet to respond to TOI’s queries.

Community Involvement and Beautification

The recommendations underscore community engagement, raising awareness about the lake’s ecological and cultural significance. Additionally, the report suggests expanding the catchment area, optimizing rainwater flow, and implementing preventive measures against soil erosion.

Beautification plans encompass a 2,500 sq m area, proposing a children’s park and recreational facilities like swings, slides, and sports courts. A jogging track surrounding the lake is also part of the proposal.

Echoes of Past Attempts

This isn’t the first attempt at rejuvenation. In 2015, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation invested over Rs3.5 crore in desilting and constructing a retaining wall, albeit abandoned midway due to insufficient funds. The current initiative carries echoes of the past, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to revive Pandhrabodi Lake’s former glory. Official records indicate a significant reduction in the lake’s size—from 27 acres to a mere 6.20 acres.

In the face of challenges, the green crusader’s persistent push and the comprehensive feasibility report pave the way for a renewed hope in the journey towards Pandhrabodi Lake’s transformation.

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