Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Lake of Life and an open air Waste Treatment Plant

Slowly but surely, the Basai Wetlands are slipping out of our hands. The changes taking place are purely man-made and people in the say have turned a blind eye to the ecological disaster that is taking place before our very eyes! Each week you visit the spot, you will notice how the waterbody is being filled up with mud and debris in such a way as to raise the ground level thus cutting off part of the lake. This is at a point closest to a gas cylinder depot.

It is true that the spot is visited by numerous birdwatchers with sophisticated cameras and zoom lenses, but they don't even move further or they would be horrified to see how a sewage canal running close to  parts of wetland  has breached its banks at some places and the toxic waste is getting mixed into the water of the wasteland.  One cannot help wondering whether this gross neglect of civic responsibility is intentional or otherwise. No wonder the plot demarcation markers are there, in the form of subtlety sunk wooden poles and the lines tied to them. Wouldn't be surprised to shells of buildings springing up from these spots in a couple of years with swanky names like Westville, or Paradise Gardens, that on the grave of migratory birds and a freshwater body, albeit tainted by the sewage of the city of Gurgaon. One wouldn't be surprised if these plots would be flooded during the monsoons because nature reclaims its own with a vengeance!

Gurgaon is a living laboratory of ecological disasters taking place before our very eyes and we are mute spectators to the tragedy unfolding! The Gurgaon of the early eighties was much different from what it is now. There were more trees, there were more water bodies, and the Arravalis stood tall. There were bunds made in strategic places by the British administration in the 1800s. All of these have gone. The bunds have gone, the water bodies have gone, one wonders about the pond in Sukhrali village, and in place of what used to be a huge pond on the way to Sohna is a stadium. Builders had not yet started building swanky condominiums on the Arravalis close to Bass Village, and sweet water was to be found at 120 feet! No wonder, we had a hand pump at our house! I wish I had taken more photographs of the Gurgaon of the eighties although one of my photographs of a nomad family taken in front of what is the main entrance to the stadium was selected by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at one of its photo exhibitions!

It gives one great thrill to be able to photograph some of the migratory birds visiting the Basai Wetlands both for archival purposes and for the assurance and inner conviction that writing about them will be a point of reference for our future generations. The speed with which the landscape of Gurgaon is changing is simply mind-boggling! The changing of the name of this city cannot, however, detract us from recalling the Gurgaon that was once home to forests lakes rivers and fruit tree plantations. One could see Nilgai roaming around in the streets and Peacocks and Peahens moving around. But of these there none left, at least not in the center of the city. My father used to tell me that the road to the railway station was once lined with trees, Jamun trees and that it was like walking through a tunnel. Of these there are none!

If you thought the above shots bring out the beauty of nature, then think about the last two shots I am sharing with you below and do share a thought in the comments section of the Blog.

The above two pictures are of toxic sewage that has contaminated parts of the fresh water that forms part of the Basai Wetlands. While walking in the area, I could help noticing the foul smell emanating from the area. No wonder, the Basai Wetlands is turning into a cesspit of apathy, greed, and indifference. It seems this once freshwater body has, after all, become an open-air waste treatment plant!

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