CUTTACK: Ansupa, the largest fresh water lake of Odisha, is losing its past glory and tourist potential due to negligence and apathetic attitude of the State Government. The lake, spread over an area of around 380 acres, has dried up and is filled with filth, weeds and silt.
Situated on the left of Mahanadi river under Banki Sub-Division, the horseshoe-shaped picturesque lake holds a prominent position in the tourist map of Odisha. The lake, which is surrounded by the Saranda hill on its western side and Gunjar hill on north-eastern side, is home to 27 species and more than 14 types of migratory birds. Its rich biodiversity includes some rare herb and plant species.
The south-east side of the lake is linked with Mahanadi by a channel locally called ‘Kabulanala’ through which flood water of the river enters the lake.
Before the embankment of Mahanadi was raised, flood water used to enter Ansupa lake from its south-eastern side through a channel called ‘Mayurinala’ and by the process, clearing the weeds. But the natural de-weeding process has been stopped due to deactivation of ‘Mayurinala’ with the raising of Mahanadi embankment after the 1982 and 1985 floods. The water, which enters the lake, cannot be discharged due to construction of embankment and choking of mouth with accumulation of silt.
Sources said the lake is filled with silt due to merger of huge amount of sand, soil and debris-mixed rain water from the two hills. As a result, the water level of the lake has been reduced from 20 feet to eight feet.
The fresh water lake, which was once full of different types of fishes and crabs and red lotus flowers, is now filled with hyacinths and weeds while the number of migratory birds has decreased.
On the other hand, experts apprehend that construction of barrages and other projects on the upstream of Mahanadi would reduce water inflow to the lake.
Environmentalist Pramod Kumar Bisoi said in order to bring back the glory of Ansupa and boost its tourism potential, the State Government should take immediate steps for its renovation.
To attract tourists, the Government has set up a park and extended boating facility at the pedestal of Saranda hill. However, it is difficult to make the boating system operational amidst weed.count was legitimate, and that some vested interests were attempting to ‘trap’ him.