Bhimtal lake in Nainital drying up

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Nainital, Aug 1 : The famous Bhimtal Lake in Nainital is drying up due to pollution and increasing levels of silt.

Earlier, the area around the lake used to have thick bamboo forests. The entire mountain range used to be covered by these trees, which used to conserve water and the water table was maintained.

But now these mountains are covered by Pine forest and the Pine trees consume enormous quantities of water depleting the ground water level.

Navin Verma, a resident hold Illegal construction in the region responsible for drying up of the lake.

"Construction is going on in full swing to promote tourism. So the sources from which the water used to flow into the lake are depleting as a result Bhimtal Lake is drying up slowly. Earlier, it used to be filled with water during the monsoons, but now as you can see only 1/3rd of the lake is filled with water," said Navin. Navin, a social worker working in the Bhimtal district believes if the lake is to be saved then rainwater-harvesting techniques should be followed in the region.

The efforts should be to replenish the ground water table with rainwater during the monsoon, which ultimately will flow into the lake thus increasing its water level.

Illegal construction in the trapezium area of the lakes has also compounded the problem. Tourism department of Uttarakhand is developing Bhimtal Lake as Kayaking and Canoeing destination and the receding water level of the lake is a source of worry for them as well.

A two-day national championship was organised in the state in April 2008 to promote the sport of Kayaking and Canoeing.

"We had organised a national championship here and we want to make these championships a regular feature in this lake. So we are making efforts to restore this lake to its earlier glory. The government will provide all the necessary help," said Prakash Pant, Tourism Minister Uttarakhand.

According to environmentalists, if nothing is done soon, the legendary beauty ofhimtal Lake, will be a thing of the past.

Every year thousands of tourists from across the country and the world throng this place. By Vipul Goel

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