Syarpu Lake is shrinking due to human activitiesThe District Soil Conservation Office had introduced a master plan to conserve the lake some nine years ago but the project never took off.
Syarpu Lake, the crown jewel of Bafikot Rural Municipality in Rukum district, is changing and not in a good way.
The lake, which is spread over 2.6 sq km area, is shrinking at a great pace. And to a great extent, human activities are responsible. In the recent years, the lake area has witnessed several landslides, which conservationists say are the result of deforestation and unplanned construction projects.
Eighty-four-year old Jokhu Khatri grew up admiring the lake’s beauty. He remembers being in awe of the lake’s vastness and its inspiring stillness until a few decades ago.
“I have lived here for so long that it is impossible not to see the changes that the lake has undergone over time. There was a time when one would be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the lake. Today, the lake is one-tenth of its original size,” Khatri said.
Conservationists say the ongoing construction works and deforestation at places like Dammana, Dhajahalne, Thumlek, Samija Seta Pahira, Bodle, Nigalpani, Kalachula, Siubang, Simlek, Okhren, Simpatla, Netilek and Buki Odar should be stopped in order to preserve the lake.
Construction works of a ring road project surrounding Syarpu Lake have also contributed to the lake’s degradation.
“The use of heavy equipment for the road project has had a severe impact on the lake and its immediate surroundings,” said Sherbir Dahal, a local school teacher.
Although the District Soil Conservation Office had introduced a master plan to conserve the lake some nine years ago, the project never took off.
“The master plan had proposed erosion control, tree plantation and wetland protection, among other programmes, to preserve Syarpu Lake. That was nine years ago. Not a single programme has been implemented till date,” said Gopal KC, a former staff at the District Tourism Development Committee.
The government of Karnali Province had allocated Rs 5 million for the conservation of the lake in the last fiscal year. The amount was spent to build a wall near the lake’s water source.
“The wall is poorly built and it could collapse into the lake any time,” said Man Bahadur KC, a local man.
Bafikot Rural Municipality itself has never allocated a budget for the lake’s conservation.
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