Indore: Soon Indore will add another feather to its cap and become the third city in the state to have a biodiversity heritage site, as proposal for Sirpur lake is under consideration. The lake is home to many land and water creatures including a large variety of birds.
The letter from Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board quoting the possibility of Sirpur becoming a biodiversity heritage site was shared by Padma Shri Bhalu Mondhe.
Mondhe after retiring from his job, has been working to conserve Sirpur lake and spread the word about its rich biodiversity.
Currently, the board has identified two sites for declaration of Biodiversity Heritage Sites: Patalkot, District Chhindwara; and Naro Hills, District Satna.
What is a biodiversity heritage site?
As defined by National Biodiversity Board, “Biodiversity Heritage Sites are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components: richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories, high endemism, presence of rare and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance, wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties, past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them.
Where is Sirpur Lake?
Sirpur Lake is located on Indore-Dhar Road in Indore. The total area of the lake and its surrounding protected region is 800 acres (around 3.6 square kilometers) and falls under the jurisdiction of the Indore Municipal Corporation.
Status of the lake:
From 1992 till date, Mondhe along with Abhilash Khandekar have been working on conservation, revival and protection of the lake. Now, Sirpur Lake is home for over 130 species of endangered birds.
Earlier, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) officially declared the water body, spread across 260 hectare, as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the country.
Combined efforts saved the last lung of Indore:
“We barely spent anything on conservation. The collaboration with government bodies ensured that schemes are channelled in restoring the lake. It is a continuous process and we have been patient,” he said.
Today, 24 people are employed by the local body to take care of the lake, which has been cut off from human interference using compounding grills. “We have put up three gunmen to prevent interference. They are deployed in eight hour shifts,” Mondhe said.
“Encroachment has been controlled and now many citizens see Sirpur Lake in a positive way. In the highly industrialized city of Indore, Sirpur Lake is the only green lung left,” BNHS wrote describing the lake.