‘Project undertaken under Udaipur Smart City’
Udaipur : Experts have raised environmental as well as heritage value concerns in a proposal that aims to construct an alternate road from Chand-pole to Brahma-pole inside the walled city area of Udaipur city.
In a letter to the Joint Secretary and Mission Director Smart Cities, GP Soni, one of the members of the committee constituted by High Court for Udaipur Lakes said that the alignment of the proposed work is completely in the submergence of Kumhariaya Talab, which is a part of the famous Pichola-Swaroopsagar lake and it will involve dismantling of city wall at two locations which is having high heritage value.
There is a beautiful city wall of high heritage value all along the proposed alignment of this alternate road. In order to provide entry from the existing road, this city wall will have to be dismantled at the entry and exit point. As the junction is skew, the width of dismantling will certainly be far more than the proposed width of road. This will have adverse effect on the scenic beauty of this area
The tender documents reveal that for laying pillar foundations in the submerged area, the estimated quantity of excavation work is 13,395 cubic meters which is not desirable as it is in close vicinity of the old city wall. Soni said, the Jodhpur High Court, Rajasthan had issued orders in2007 while deciding a civil writ, for not permitting any sort of construction and to ensure no human activities undertaken in the submergence area of lakes of Udaipur.
The proposed construction named as Alternate Road from Chand-pole to Amba-pole having alignment in the submergence of Lake Pichhola under SMART CITY Mission violates building bye laws about no construction zone and also has many other serious technical as well as environment and heritage related anomalies.
As this historical Pichhola lake is a drinking water source for the residents, protection of quality of water is very necessary and accordingly its submergence area has been declared as ‘ No construction Zone’ under Building Bye Laws 2013. According to these bye laws, no construction is permissible in the submergence area except essential repairs and desilting, that also with the specific permission of the state government.
Pichhola among oldest lakes of India
Pichola, Rangsagar, Kumhariya Talab and Swaroopsagar are part of a single lake but the common overflow is the north end of Swaroopsagar, so it is technically called Swaroopsagar. This lake, commonly called Pichola is one of the oldest lakes of India and is a national asset. As per the register of large dams of India, (2019) maintained by the Central Water Commission, New Delhi, this lake was completed in the year 1560 (i.e., it is 361 years old.) The length of embankment is 660 meters and maximum height is 22 meters. The storage capacity of this lake is 13.68 million cubic meters. This lake was used for irrigation in state times but from last many years it is one of the major drinking water sources for Udaipur citizens and now there is no irrigation from this lake.