Kolkata: A handful of citizens in Kolkata have made it their mission to go on a massive clean up drive and their focus is to try and save one of the largest wetlands of the city – the Bikramgarh Lake.
The Bikramgarh Lake has been choked with hyacinths and garbage. With no help in sight and with very little funds, some ordinary citizens decided that they had had enough. They are now getting down and dirty to clear the muck.
"We need these wetlands. This is the second largest wetland in south Kolkata. In case there is a fire where will people get water from?" said Arjan Basu Roy, secretary, Nature Net.
The lake is located at a prime real estate hub. It was only their sheer grit and determination that the ordinary citizens could fight land-grabbers armed with money and goons, greedy for every inch of the lake which once stretched across 10 acre, but is now reduced to just 8.
"It's only about land. Every inch of the Jheel is being encroached slowly from slum dwellers to real estate developers," said Dipak Bhattacharya of the Bikramgarh Jheel Bachao Committee.
Jayanta Aich, another member said, "We are at fault as well. Look at the garbage. Locals too dump their waste here clogging the lake."
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real estate boom in Kolkata has shrunk its wetlands to an alarming 1.5 per cent of the city's area.
Wetland expert Dr Dhrubojyoti Ghosh said, "Wetlands in the city are real estates for future. No one cares to preserve them simply because it doesn't have a constituency."
The aim of the citizens is to make Kolkata a city which doesn't breathe at its nature's expense.