Odisha: Experts seek awareness campaign to purify holy Bindusagar water

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Bhubaneswar: Water and Power Consultancy Services Limited (WAPCOS), a mini Ratna Company of the Government of India, has prepared a draft plan for rejuvenation and sustainable conservation plan of Holy Lake Bindusagar and its five periphery tanks and presented its concept before stakeholders at a meeting in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) yesterday and also organised a meet on the banks of the historic water body.
This evening among others, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patsani, local councillors of the surrounding areas and representatives of the priests and servitors from various temples and residents of Old Town area attended the consultation near Bindusagar.
While discussing with the locals, law makers and stakeholders, experts engaged by the Central organisation also raised their concern over carefree disposal of religious offerings like human hair, `puja’ items like flowers and garlands and also people using soaps to take bath in the holy waters. They requested the stakeholders to create awareness programmes rigorously so that communities residing nearby would be thinking twice before throwing anything in future inside the waters of Bindusagar .
While the expert body on water management took up Bindusagar as the central source for the revival of a water ecosystem, the five water bodies, it picked for the project, include: Devipadahara, Kotitirtha, Godipokhari, Ganga Jamuna and Godavari Kund.
In a nutshell, the project is based on the observations on the ecological and heritage perspective of Bindusagar and the nearby water bodies and how, communities, as major stakeholders would play a pro-active role in the conservation project in order to have a pure, deep and healthy water body so that all the annual religious functions of Lord Lingaraj would be organised with much fanfare and followings.
During the presentation of the draft plan WAPCOS experts pointed at issues like lack of sewerage network, storm water network and how due to shrinking marshy land around the historic water body and the natural drainage channel, getting polluted with house-hold waste water disposal, have complicated the entire issue.
Built around 7-8th Century AD, the hold Bindusagar is holding an area of about 8.9 hectares. It is a spring-fed rectangular lake of 450 metre length and 320 metre width. Its average depth is 2.5 metres in Summer and 4.5 metres in monsoons. While the growth of hydrilla and hyacinth has become a concern for the lake, disposal of solid wastes around the lake and throwing of used religious offerings are also making the public disturbed.
Devipadahara, on the other hand, a historic tank of 12-13th Century AD and surrounded by 100 small temples of Lord Shiva with a dimension of 59.16 metre in length, 42.11 metre in width and 3.4 metre in depth. However, the beautiful tank if filled with weed and not in use.
Ganga Jamuna, on the other hand, is a spring-based water body of 13-14th Century AD and with 12.82 metre length, 10.04 metre width and 1.3 metre depth. The water is flowing out with a small outlet and it is clean and clear.
Kotitirtha tank inside Kotitirtheswar Temple is an 11th Century structure is enclosed within a masonry embankment made of dressed laterite blocks. It is of 18.65 metre in length, 10.53 in width and 1.6 metre in depth and the water is highly polluted inside.
Godipokhari tank, on the other hand, is situated towards the Western side of Bindusagar and the length is 51.24 metre and width of 36.74 metre. The pond is in extremely bad condition with excessive weed growth as waste water from the nearby residential area are directly entering the pond, which now represents a swampy land. While water is sparingly found, the entire water body is seen with thick vegetation and various types of reptiles and insects are seen inside.
The Godavari Kund, on the other hand, was built around 8th Century AD and its length is 14.13 metre in length, 8.72 metre in width and 1.3 metre in depth. Some old temple are located on one side of the pond and the water quality inside is highly polluted.
The WAPCOS team has carried out various surveys i.e. topographic, bathymetric, aquatic, terrestrial and sedimentation/soil quality surveys to know the details of the six important water bodies in the central part of the Old Town area. The survey has found that there are 33 plant types, 10 shrubs, 37 herbs, 12 grasses, 3 climbers and 4 wetland varieties. There are nine types of zooplanktons in and around the lake.
Proposals given in the draft:
The WAPCOS proposal has enlisted several measures like dewatering of the holy lake of 27 hectares, removal of the sedimentation layers from the tank bed, fresh water inflow from the nearby Daya river to Bindusagar and also other water bodies, in need of water flow and introduction of some select fish varieties, which would be able to eat out the overgrowing aquatic weeds.
To facilitate religious offerings, but not to pollute Bindusagar, the draft has proposed separate tanks (kund) near it so that the offerings like flowers and garlands would be thrown there, clearing of floating debris regularly from these `kunds’ and placing of aerators to maintain the dissolved oxygen level.
While the suggestion of water supply from Daya river has been propped from near Lingipur with a 2 million litres per day (MLD) plant at Samantarapur. Similarly fish species like Tilapia, Grass carp could be introduced with the technical help from the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Kausalyagang so that the weeds would be controlled by them.
Similarly, the proposal has also given measures regarding the management of water with the other five tanks, associated with the proposal excepting the Ganga Jamuna tank, which needs no intervention as the stream is very active and it produces good quality of water throughout the year.

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