Ameenpur Lake Hyderabad: A Biodiversity Heritage Site Fends For Itself

Ameenpur Lake in Hyderabad has the distinction of being the first water body in the country to be declared a Biodiversity Heritage Site.

I suppose having such a tag meant that it must be very important and unique from the viewpoint of nature/environment/wildlife. I checked the website of National Biodiversity Authority, Government of India to know more about Ameenpur. Surprisingly, the Authority has no idea about the area of Ameenpur and the importance of the area. I was left wondering what the Authority does if it does not know anything about the Biodiversity Heritage Site in its purview.

I visited the Ameenpur Lake on 5th March 2019 with my four and half-year-old twin daughters. My daughters definitely enjoyed their trip. However, I was left aghast at the condition of the lake left to fend for itself. It was similar to our visit to Jawahar Deer Park Shamirpet.

The Water

The image with this article is from Ameenpur lake. The froth and the foam getting washed on to the shore of the lake is not from Mother Nature. It is evident that the effluents and sewage are getting dumped into the lake.

In the era of satellite images and drones, I do not suppose it will take much to find out the culprits. Even a walk along the periphery of the lake can identify who is letting out their discharges into the lake.

Wonder why this cannot be done for each of the water bodies in the country? And here we are talking about a Biodiversity Heritage Site.

The Wildlife

Wikipedia page of Ameenpur lake informs that in 2017, the lake was home to 8 species of mammals, 166 birds, 45 herpetofauna (12 amphibians and 34 reptiles), 9 species of fish, and 143 invertebrates (26 aquatic beetles, 41 butterflies, 18 odonates, 25 arachnids, and 33 other invertebrates).

This is surely great. However, to get the inquisitiveness of the children and the interest of the general public going and involve them in the upkeep and the conservation efforts, the government has to provide the names of the wildlife. Not just the names, but information about their habitat, food, steps to be taken to increase their population etc.

Without this / local guide, it does not make any difference whether we are visiting a Biodiversity Heritage Site or any other reservoir?

The Surroundings

Ameenpur lake has an amazing rock formation surrounding it. I suppose it would have been all around the lake in earlier times, but now it is limited to just one side. We climbed these rocks and found them littered with liquor bottles and broken glass. It goes on to show the goings-on in this place.

On the other sides, Ameenpur is surrounded by apartments, factories and a village. We even saw a ghat on one side, wonder what purpose it serves.

Seemingly, there is no designated/demarcated buffer area around Ameenpur lake with rampant encroachments happening. We saw cars/motorcycles/trolleys on the dried lake-bed area using it as a thoroughfare.

Ameenpur Lake View Point

Google Maps identify a place called Ameenpur Lake View Point. At the lake itself, where we were, there was no information about this.

It was difficult to walk as the ground was littered with shells of fish that were being caught and sold along the shore. The customers were driving right to the shore of the lake with their vehicles to buy their fish.

It was also obvious that we were at the vantage point as far as bird watching is concerned with visible encroachments on the other sides. We assumed that we were at the Ameenpur Lake View Point.

The Trees

If there was one aspect of nature that was starkly visible by its absence – it was the trees.

Wondering how can a water body famous for the birds be almost devoid of trees in its surrounding. No idea, whether it is a recent phenomenon of trees being cut down or Ameenpur has always been like that.

Conclusion

On one side we say that we lack jobs, and here at Ameenpur, to conserve biodiversity, protect the lake and transform it into an experiential interaction with nature, so many jobs could be created at just one place. Just that, we and our Indian State are completely devoid of any imagination and application.

Ameenpur lake was reportedly constructed more than 300 years ago to irrigate private gardens. The gardens no longer exist. Ameenpur once occupied an area of more than 300 acres, now due to encroachment, the lake currently covers an area of 93 acres, as per Wikipedia. I have seen the size of Ameenpur lake. It is nowhere near to 93 acres currently, no chance.

The gardens have vanished. I suspect Ameenpur will vanish too by the time my daughters turn 18 years. And so would have vanished the biodiversity as well.

We do not deserve the blessings of Mother Nature. Indians Win, India Lose.

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