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Villagers protest against inclusion of Udaisagar lake in protected zone

Villagers protesting against the decision of taking Udaisagar lake under protected zone.

Udaipur : Inmates of 12 villages living in the periphery of Udaisagar lake here are taking the agitation way to mark their protest against the recent decision of the Lakes Development Authority wherein three lakes were declared to be taken under the protected and prohibited zone.  The decision would badly effect their lives, the villagers claimed, most of whom are cultivators and depend on the lake water for irrigating their fields. The villagers belong to Kanpur, Madri, Panwadi, Debari, Tila Khera, Matoon, Kharbadia, Lakadwas, Mota Devra, Bhoiyon-ki-Pancholi and surrounding areas. In a meeting held on Tuesday, activists and villagers discussed the consequences of the LDA’s decision on livelihood and lives of the residents concerned.

As per the recent notification by the Department of the Local Self Government, various activities have been prohibited within the geographical boundaries of Lake Udaisagar. “ According to the notification, the villagers would require to make trips to Jaipur to seek permission for every petty things around the lake area. They wont be able to draw water even for drinking purpose, irrigation, dig tubewells at their homes without permission and this would make their lives very difficult” claimed Mahesh Sharma, a retired professor and environmentalist. Though the people claimed they are not against conservation measures to save the lake from degradation and pollution, however, they said the authorities have rushed to frame the regulations without taking into consideration the livelihood of hundreds of people living around Udaisagar.

“Agriculture is the main occupation of our people and most of them are marginal farmers who grow vegetables and sell in the local markets to earn a living. Taking the lake under prohibited zone means snatching away our rights to make a living” Vimal Bhadiya, chairman of Udaisagar protection samiti. “ The new rule forbids any construction in the prohibited area and the total catchment and drainage area fall in the ‘zone of influence’. Hence for every single activity to performed in the protected area of the lake would require permission. This would be practically difficult for each dweller, farmer living in the zone of influence” Sharma said. Activists also said that the authorities who are already preoccupied with work loads, have no expertise and are not capable to assess the safety level of each activity from the conservation point of view. Thus the residents would be subject to arbitrary decision making further leading to harassment and confusion.

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