Early 19th century Nainital attracted many Europeans, who built summer residences there. Post-independence, the place became a huge draw for a large number of tourists.
The kidney-shaped Naini lake is 1,432 metres long and 42 metres wide with water spread over 48.76 hectares to a maximum depth of 42 m.
Unregulated construction led to massive damage to the lake’s ecology. Eateries surrounded the lake; open defaecation and untreated sewage added to the damage clubbed with dung from tourists’ horses.
In 2007-08, judicial activism and a proactive civil society brought about a change.
Steps included formation of a Lake Development Authority remove encroachments, relocating horses and the horse stand, improving sanitation conditions and ‘aeration’ of the lake with heavy fine for violators.
The lake was revived in less than two years.
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