POKHARA, Dec 12: Fewa Lake, which has lost a huge portion of its precious land to illegal constructions around, may soon be declared a conservation area. The stakeholders have planned to declare it 'Fewa Wetland Conservation Area' and restrict commercial activities in the periphery. The government, locals and other parties have come together for the cause.
"Fewa is considered the 13th beautiful lake worldwide. It is the pride of Pokhara and the entire nation. But its shrinking size is worrisome and it’s crucial to fix this problem," said Bain Bahadur Adhikari, chief of Fewa Lake Conservation District Coordination Committee, who is also the chief of the Forest and Land Conservation Department, Kaski. "We are now going to declare it a 'wetland conservation area'. Interactions are going on between locals, authorities and other bodies. everyone is positive," he added.
Adhikari also informed Republica that the locals were dissatisfied over the lack of implementation of the Supreme Court's decision. The court had ruled that the lake be brought to the original size by removing all illegal constructions. Located at an altitude of 742 meters, the lake covered over 20,000 hectares of area, as per an aerial survey and field verification carried out in 1959. But now, it is not bigger than 8,000 hectares. The Supreme Court had in 2018 ordered that the government annul illegal registration of lake land with or without paying compensation. The move to reclaim the land was widely welcomed.
However, the government has not been able to realize the court's order. Hotels and restaurants have been operating around the lake unabated. Environmentalists have long warned that the loss due to the encroachment has been massive on wildlife, flora and fauna. They have indicated that the lake could soon disappear if serious steps were not taken to protect it.
According to Ram Chandra Baral, chairperson of Pokhara Metropolis- 7, the blame game for not implementing the decision of the court right away should come to an end. "It's already been two years since the decision. What force has stopped from reclaiming the land; we must introspect," he said.
Tirtharaj Adhikari, chairperson of Pokhara Metropolis-17 meanwhile said that there is one voice for declaring the lake a wetland and conservation area. This move will give some positive results. "We are not only looking at the lake; the entire wetland area should be protected and we local representatives are for the same," he said.
Meanwhile, Adhikari said that the first phase of homework for the declaration of conservation area has been completed. "We are done with the first phase. Mapping and other tasks are nearly over. Soon, we will recommend it for the purpose," he said adding that due pressure for the implementation of the recommendation would also be exerted on the authorities.