Ponds, once considered to be the lifeline of village life, are dying as increasingly scarce land means that encroachers and grabbers eye these stretches of vital importance.
Apart from attempts to encroach upon the land that was once a pond, the village households have contributed to the declining importance of ponds by throwing waste and garbage in it.
The third reason for the decline of the pond has been waste water is thrown into these by the households.
So, what makes do as a pond in most of the villages is now a stinky muddy swamp that is dirty to look at and is not serving any purpose at all. The issue deserves consideration as previously these ponds were used to harvest rain water, to recharge the declining subsoil water and fish farming to generate revenue for village panchayats.
Now, as the waste thrown leads to a rapid decline in recharge capacity, an important source of revenue has stopped.
A key reason for the persisting situation is that these encroachments cannot be removed due to alleged political reasons.
What was worsened the situation is that in most villages, even toilet water drains into ponds, but there is no outlet.
“The village pond is dead. It simply cannot hold up rain water any more. One even cannot walk on the muddy streets in the villages after it rains,” said Chamkaur Singh, a resident of the Chahal village, Faridkot.
“During summers, the stink becomes intolerable and irritable. Even mosquitoes breeds in the dirty ponds leading to ailments. Not only the locals and nearby residents, commuters on Bathinda-Kotkapura road also find it difficult to commute,” said Darshan Singh, former sarpanch of Dhilwan kalan village.
“The condition of ponds in villages is a threat to the environment. These should have been ideally used to harvest rain water to save declining water table. Panchayats can also earn additional income auctioning them for fish farming. Unfortunately, ponds have become a source to throw dirty waste water,” said Sadhu Ram Deora,an environmentalist from Kotkapura.
It is common sight to see ponds being filled up and with encroachments on them.
Though a project to drain out dirty water from the village ponds was started, but the results are not showing.
“We have been repairing the water channel with `7 lakh leading to a drain and the village would get relief from the problem,” said Baljeet Singh, Chahal sarpanch.