Shrunk to 300-metre, Damdama lake in Sohna to be restored by July end

  • Ipsita Pati, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon:
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2016 12:17 IST
The lake has shrunk to a 300-metre pond because of silt and lack of rainfall in the region. For the first time forest department has launched a Rs 38-lakh makeover project, which will help rejuvenate the lake. (HT Photo)

The water bed of Damdama Lake, which is a natural water reservoir in Sohna and the biggest waterbody in Haryana which is spread across 62 acre, is under rigorous alternation and within 10 days of time it will be ready for the monsoon.

At present the area is full of earthmovers which are busy cleaning and desilting the lake as it has been reduced to 300-metre pond because of silt and lack of rainfall in the region. The makeover project which has been started by the forest department has a budget of around Rs 38 lakh to develop the water body.

This is the first time such a project has been undertaken by the forest department to revive the lake located on Sohna-Alwar road . The water from the Aravallis can be get collected in the lake. “We are working on the project to make the area free from stay pigs and dogs also we are digging into the lake bed so that rainwater can be stored as it can extend to 12 km at its longest and two-and-a-half kilometers at its widest during monsoon season. It is a seasonal and natural water body,” said MD Sinha, conservator of forest.

The lake, which is around 20 kms away from Rajiv Chowk on NH8, has a potential to turn into a major tourist attraction in the area as it is surrounded by the Aravalli forest, he mentioned. Also the entire project started this month as to get the work started it requires moisture n the ground, thus this is the ideal time, he added.

After desilting, the embankment will be strengthen also plantation will be carried out along the mound. Because of the disturbing rainfall pattern and declining level of groundwater, the lake has reduced in remarkably to a size of a swimming pool from 300 acres radius. “Water bodies like the Damdama Lake are on the brink of extinction as it is completely dependent on the monsoon. Loss of catchment area is hampering its existence. With a view to revive the lake we have taken up this plan,” added Sinha.

This entire exercise will also increase the groundwater table of the area which is at 200-250 ft in Gurgoan. This scenario is very grim as the extraction level comes to 300 times. The city has been facing an average decline of about 1.7 meter (or five and a half feet) per year in the ground water level between 2004 and 2014 for the entire Gurgaon block. The decline in the urban city area is likely to be higher, according to experts.

Around 7 acres of land will be cleared of silt in the next 10 days. The area is strategically important as a 2.5-km-long trail of leopard pugmarks was found by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in February while they were conducting carnivorous study in the region. The team also found hyena pugmarks and some unidentified pugmarks that could be of the Indian fox, which is rare for the region.

When asked if the tourist activity around the lake can hamper the wildlife activity, the department said that the lake do not falls under any national sanctuary category, so it is not restricted to tourist activities. Also, they will soon develop some plans to safe guard leopard habitat as well in the area.

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