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HomeAnimal NewsUjjain IAS Officer Restores Historic Pond With 125 Volunteers, No Govt Fund

Ujjain IAS Officer Restores Historic Pond With 125 Volunteers, No Govt Fund

Anshul Gupta, a 2016-batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) turned commissioner of the Ujjain Municipal Company, Madhya Pradesh in late 2021. 

One of many first duties he undertook was to revive a once-dilapidated pond known as Yam Talaiya on the outskirts of the temple metropolis Ujjain, situated on the banks of the Kshipra River. Measuring 4.2 acres, it’s a secondary pond which flows from the first Vishnu Sagar Talab and channels from close by farm fields.

This was as soon as a pond of nice significance to farmers residing close by and the Chitragupta Mandir, a Hindu temple related to the birthplace of Lord Chitragupta — the deity entrusted with holding information of deeds dedicated by human beings of their sojourn on Earth.

Nevertheless, the pond suffered from years of negligence, leading to extra deposition, which in flip decreased its water-holding capability by a major margin.

There is history behind this historical pond restored by IAS officer
Historic pond (Picture courtesy EFI)

Making issues worse, invasive weeds started dominating native species, and encroachments from close by farm fields choked the very lifetime of this pond. In different phrases, what Commissioner Anshul Gupta discovered was a pond in determined want of restoration.

“Upon visiting the principle Vishnu Sagar Talab, I found a stark distinction between main and secondary ponds. I visited the temple as properly, the place the resident priest informed me the importance of this temple from historic occasions. In previous excavations, historic idols had been discovered on the secondary pond, indicating the placement’s wealthy historic worth,” remembers Anshul Gupta, who was appointed commissioner in September 2021, talking to The Higher India.

“The Yam Talaiya pond was completely dry and crammed with mud and silt. Throughout my earlier posting as a CEO, Zila Panchayat, Umaria district, I had the expertise of restoring roughly 30 water our bodies below a wide range of authorities schemes. Given my expertise, I assumed I ought to do one thing for this essential pond. Following this website go to, I reached out to the Environmentalist Basis of India (EFI), a non-profit environmental conservation group,” he provides.

He requested them whether or not they may examine the positioning and give you a plan. In December 2021, the EFI organised a sequence of surveys, adopted by many rounds of discussions.

In shut session with Commissioner Gupta, they got here up with a “scientific, environment-friendly desilting and restoration plan”. To execute this plan, they invited different native non-profits, social organisations and even schools by means of social media. Ultimately, round 125 volunteers turned up. Along with the EFI and native administration, they started the restoration course of.

Volunteers help IAS officer restore historical pond
Volunteer work (Picture courtesy EFI)

What’s extra, not a single rupee of presidency funds was used within the restoration course of. The volunteers engaged within the pond restoration, wall portray, plantation and even a documentary screening drive to sensitise the general public in regards to the water physique. In the meantime, the overall value of restoring the pond, amounting to Rs 60 lakh, was raised by means of a wide range of initiatives.

Whereas Rs 10 lakh was raised by means of CSR (company social duty) funds, the remaining got here from a wide range of personal donations.

How an IAS officer helped restore a historical pond
Earlier than and After: Restoration of the historic pond (Picture courtesy EFI)

Strategy of restoration

It started with de-weeding and rubbish removing. In line with a January 2023 doc that EFI shared with The Higher India, “The pond’s periphery and mattress had been coated with invasive weed species, which had been dominating the native plant. They had been eliminated utilizing excavators. Roughly 0.75 acres of the realm had been cleared,” it famous.

This was adopted by desilting. “A mean of 4 toes of silt was eliminated utilizing excavators. Desilting of the pond additional helps in growing the storage capability and enhancing the groundwater percolation price,” the doc famous.

What did they do with extra silt excavated from the pond’s floor? It was shifted to the periphery to strengthen the embankments, which had been raised to a median of 12 toes. This might assist in growing the water-holding capability and mitigate floods throughout heavy rainfalls.

“New embankments had been constructed for a size of 540 metres, which is able to outline the boundary of the water physique and forestall encroachments,” the doc famous. As well as, sedimentary wells for one acre had been excavated to seize the silt from the runoff, in order that the clear water will go into the principle pond. To assist regularise the overflow, an earthen weir was constructed.

In the meantime, based on the EFI doc, “two recharge wells had been [also] constructed with a slim channel which helps in recharging the groundwater.”

Going additional, nesting islands had been additionally constructed to facilitate the habitation of wildlife of the pond like swans, geese, fishes, turtles, peacocks, squirrels, and so forth. These islands act as a breeding floor for numerous bugs, reptiles and birds within the pond.

However to make sure these restoration efforts don’t go in useless, a wide range of civil works had been additionally carried out — like repairs on the walkway, the present ghat, and the development of a wood bridge to cross the inlet channel. Stone pitching on the highway and facet bund was additionally carried out to cut back soil erosion. To stop encroachment and strong waste dumping, protecting fencing was put in.

IAS restores historical Pond with volunteers
Restoration of the realm across the historic pond (Picture courtesy EFI)

After restoration

In April 2022, the Authorities of India launched Mission Amrit Sarovar. This explicit mission is geared toward creating and rejuvenating 75 water our bodies in every district of the nation.

In Could, the Ujjain Municipal Company determined to make use of this pond for example to construct the primary Amrit Sarovar of Madhya Pradesh. After eight months of effort, the restoration work helped increase the water-holding capability of the pond by virtually a 3rd (further 22,800,000 litres) from its authentic 67,989,600 litres, based on Commissioner Gupta.

“The Yam Talaiya (flowing from Vishnu Sagar) pond, which was as soon as overtaken by weeds, extreme silt deposition and had weak structural integrity, is now restored to help the lifeforms that rely on it. The current monsoons have introduced the pond again to life with wildlife thriving. The pond now holds extra water and wildlife than it did prior to now,” he claims.

“The scrap desilting approach utilized by EFI has the distinctive profit that solely one-fourth of the pond will face siltation sooner or later. General, nevertheless, over 100 residents, together with farmers residing close to the pond, benefitted from the rising groundwater desk, moreover the inflow of a wide range of birds and reptiles, and so forth. Additionally, the variety of pilgrims visiting this temple has risen to about 5,000 as properly. This has already improved native tourism within the space,” he provides.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat)

(Photographs courtesy EFI and Anshul Gupta, IAS)



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