The Ranchi Lake, commonly known as Bada Talab, is set for a face-lift with the city civic body drafting a multi-crore plan to conserve and beautify the British-era water body.
The Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has drafted a plan to conserve the lake with an estimated cost of Rs 14.42 crore. The lake over the years has become polluted due discharge of untreated sewer water and waste dumped by residents.
Located at the base of the landmark Ranchi Hill, the 53-acre man-made lake–2,100ft above sea level–was dug up by Colonel Onsely, a British agent and his men in 1842.
The RMC plans to develop the historic lake as tourist spot that will have a food court, a jogging track, lightning and landscaping of the lake.
“The lake will be developed in three phases. The first phase, which is likely to being in a month or two, will see construction of basic infrastructure like a boundary wall, a pathway, lighting and sitting arrangements and beautification work,” said Bijay Kumar Bhagat, superintendent engineer at RMC.
Local residents said the years back, water from the lake was used for drinking. “The water has become polluted due to the inflow of untreated sewer water,” said Rajeev Kumar, a local resident.
“The polluted water is affecting the health of residents as it has turned into breeding ground for number of water-borne diseases due to the pollution,” he said.
RMC officials said conservation plan for Bada Talab was being drafted since 1980 but the plan has not been executed so far.
In 2013, the RMC drafted Rs 53.47 lakh renovation and beautification plan.
The corporation has decided to stop the draining of sewage water into the lake, said RMC executive engineer Uma Shankar Ram.
“A by-pass drain has been constructed so that sewage water is not drained into the lake,” he said.
The RMC planned to set up a sewage treatment plant for treat untreated sewer water with the help of Neeri (national environmental engineering research institute) technology. “The plan was dropped as we did not want to depend on a single technology,” Bhagat said, adding that an expression of interest has been floated for maintaining the cleanliness and water quality in the lake for five years.
“We are expecting agencies to come up with different technologies out of which the best will be picked,” he said.
The Jharkhand government wants to develop the Ranchi Lake as a major tourist destination of the city.
In January this year, chief minister Raghubar Das, laying the foundation of a statue of Swami Vivekananda at the lake, said a 30ft statue will be installed in the middle of the sprawling lake and the government will develop Bada Talab as a tourist spot in the next two years.