Updated May 20th, 2024 at 22:46 IST

Save Rabindra Sarobar: Campaign To Save Kolkata's Green Lung. Why It Matters

To prevent the deterioration of ‘Rabindra Sarobar’ in Kolkata, the 'Save Rabindra Sarobar' forum, called upon its custodian KMDA to set up a green barrier.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
Rabindra Sarobar located in West Bengal's South Kolkata | Image:PTI
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Kolkata: With a motive prevent the deterioration of ‘Rabindra Sarobar’ in West Bengal’s South Kolkata, the 'Save Rabindra Sarobar' forum, a citizens group dedicated to preserving the national lake, on Monday called upon its custodian state-run Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) to set up a green barrier around the premises of the waterbody. Spokesperson for the committee and an environmental activist, Somendra Mohan Ghosh, asserted the urgent need to plant medium-height trees around the lake's perimeter to mitigate the impact of vehicular emissions and safeguard the ecosystem.

The 192-acre area, including the expansive artificial waterbody and surrounding trees, was conceived in the 1920s by Cecil Henry Bompass, MR Atkins, and Prabodh Chandra Chatterjee, and was later renamed Rabindra Sarobar in the 1950s.

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Concerns about the lake's future have arisen due to incidents of dead fish, tree uprooting, and declining water levels in recent years

Highlighting the importance of preserving the diverse ecosystem comprising over a hundred bird and insect species, Somendra Mohan Ghosh stressed on the necessity of a green barrier to combat air and noise pollution from nearby traffic on Southern Avenue.

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Concerns about the lake's future have arisen due to incidents of dead fish, tree uprooting, and declining water levels in recent years, prompting calls for action to protect this vital resource in South Kolkata.

While the KMDA official noted ongoing efforts to remove debris, replant trees, and plant new saplings, there are currently no immediate plans to establish a green barrier.

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The forum cited a past NGT order restricting land use in Rabindra Sarobar solely for conservation purposes, opposing any attempts to lease out land to private entities.

Referring to the existence of three clubs in the lake area, activist Sumitra Banerjee said the forum was opposed to allocation of land for commercial purposes.

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However, a KMDA official said the clubs had been granted lease long ago outside the core area with the undertaking that they would contribute to environmental conservation efforts.

Importance of Rabindra Sarobar

Rabindra Sarobar, formerly known as Dhakuria Lake, is an artificial lake, garden and park in West Bengal’s South Kolkata. The name also refers to the area surrounding the lake. It represents the green lungs of densely populated eastern India. As per the claims, around 38 percent of the total area constitutes the water body (Rabindra Sarobar) while a green zone dotted with century old plants and trees comprises residual area. The lake was renamed in May 1958 as ‘Rabindra Sarobar’ in honour of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1997 the lake was provided with the status of national lake.

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Presently the lake covers 73 acres and the total area measures 192 acres. The entire region contains over ten thousand trees. Many of which date back to the time of the digging of the lake.

The lake surrounded by the green zone plays an important role in the biodiversity of the city.

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The region provides a fresh dose of oxygen to the city’s polluted atmosphere, thus the area is often referred to as the ‘lung’ of South Kolkata.

Today the lake and its surrounding areas are one of the most popular recreational areas in Kolkata. 73 acres are covered by water, while shrubs and trees, some of which are more than 100 years old, occupy the rest of the area. A partial tree census in 2012 recorded 50 different species. In the winter, one can spot some migratory birds around the lake.

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The lake is also home to many varieties of fish, however, fishing is strictly prohibited. A number of people come for a walk around the lake in the mornings to enjoy the fresh air. Many visit the sunrise point to offer their prayers to the sun. During the day, it is visited by families on a picnic, tourists, young lovers and joggers.
 

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Published May 20th, 2024 at 22:46 IST