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Boating proposed at Bundi's Lotus lake will ruin flower


Times of India, New Delhi, May 4, 2015


Rachna Singh,

BUNDI: Sometimes it's best to leave nature alone, sit back and enjoy the bliss, more so when it comes to the national flower of the country.


The only one of its kind, the Jait Sagar or Lotus lake in Bundi, is a sight to behold where billions of lotus bloom each season. Spread over 1.5 km, the lake is the latest victim of entertainment as now the administration is proposing boating here, which would completely eliminate the flower.


"There should be minimum human intervention in the lake and its beauty should be kept undisturbed. The lotus blooms from March to October and is a haven for native and migratory birds. A large number of migratory birds like waders, pintails, ducks and greylag geese flock to the lake. We should preserve the aquatic flora and fauna of the lake," said Rajpal Singh, member state wildlife board.


Surrounded by hills on all sides, the serene lake can be used for eco-tourism with a promenade around the lake and bird watching. But at the moment, it is surrounded with garbage thrown in and around the lake. Besides, it also works as a 'dhobi ghat.'


"It is difficult to grow lotus, but the plant proliferated here on its own and has been around for 12 years now. As a child, I saw the lake drying up every year. But ever since the plant took root, water goes down by only 2 feet every summer. Boating would sound the death knell for this phenomenon," said Kukki, a local archeologist and tourism expert.


Now the proposal for boating comes around the sanction of Rs 98 crore for Jait Sagar under the XI Five-Year Plan of GOI. Under the National Lake Conservation Project (NLCP), the state had prioritized lakes for inclusion in the plan. While 70% funds would come from GOI, the state government committed to bear the 30% of project cost. Accordingly, detailed project reports were framed by the consultants. And boating seemed to be the best way to the government to promote tourism.


"Boating can be done in Nawal Sagar lake, that is picturesque too, in front of the palace. The water level is also good. Why do they want to spoil a natural spectacle at Jait Sagar? When I talk about boating commencing in the Lotus lake, tourists snap back, 'Are you mad to do that?' For them, the lake full of different colours of lotuses is a far more appealing sight," said Kukki.


Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertner) is a symbol of Indian cultural heritage, deeply associated with Hindu mythology, art and culture and has thus been accorded the status of the National Flower of India. To the Indian psyche, the lotus is more than a flower - it represents both beauty and non-attachment.