Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ponds dying slow death – Poor management, urbanisation to blame

Sumit Hakhoo
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 27
Once an important part of the rural life in the Jammu region, traditional “talabs” (ponds) have slowly given in to rapid urbanisation, particularly in the Kandi area.

While most have been turned into garbage dumps, others have been encroached upon by people right under the nose of the administration.

Till a few decades ago, ponds and ditches were visible all around the city and formed an important water buffer, particularly during the summer. However, people seldom use these now due to their poor condition.

Around 20 years ago, people used water drawn from ponds for their day-to-day activities. But the pond in our locality has now turned filthy, as people dump garbage in it,” says Rajesh Sharma, a resident of Bantalab.

The importance of this water body can be gauged from the fact that our area gets its name from it,” he says.

Most people in Jammu attribute the deteriorating condition of these ponds to influx of people from other regions of the state who have constructed houses by setting up new localities.

In the Jammu region, these water bodies are associated with village deities. But once new localities come into being, their inhabitants have little emotional attachment to these water bodies and use them as garbage dumps,” says Indu Paul from Raipur village.

At many places, greed for land has also contributed to the demise of ponds. “The pond in our area was filled with earth to reclaim land and was subsequently put up for sale. We approached the municipal corporation and the Jammu Development Authority but to no avail,” said Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Paloura.

A year ago, the municipal corporation announced a major project to save and beautify the traditional water bodies falling under its jurisdiction. However, its results are nowhere to be seen, given the conditions of ponds in the city.

MC Commissioner KL Khajuria was not available for comments.

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