Mahanadi’s Anshupa in Steady Decay

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Going upstream on the left side of the river Mahanadi from the outskirt of Bhubaneswar, be a speedster or a trekker or even an incidental passerby, you cannot ignore the expansive endowment of nature. The river forms a closely knit ecosystem of forests, natural and human made water channels, extensive flora and fauna, dotted villages, and temples.

The complete integration of life with the large river brings a different perspective when you go a few hundred meters away from the bank – an organic assembly that sustains and fulfills itself without inhibition. As you reach the bank, it’s a marriage of sand and water – they decide how to fashion themselves with each other to create a view that is exquisite and limitless. When the river passes between two raised hills, it tends to carve its build and speed accordingly. The dark blue water and yellow brown sand together mould the scope of imagination of an onlooker.

A drive of approximately 50 kilometers (from the outskirt of Bhubaneswar), and you find this fresh water lake, Anshupa. In fact, with 5231-hectare area and less than 4.2 meters’ depth, it is only major fresh water lake after Sara went dry. Long before, it was a part of the mighty river Mahanadi though a narrow canal, called Kabula, works as the channel for inflow and outflow of water between them. The earlier canal, called Huluhula, is now gone.

The government authority and the concerned authority have done great by carving a beautiful garden nearby and raising watch towers on the neighbouring hills. However, it’s an absolute failure in preserving the lake itself; and sometime, you would feel that they have little or no vision regarding conserving such a precious natural ecosystem.

There are several information boards dotting in the garden. One of these provides rather irrelevant information like how wetland works favourably for rice crop, and another offers proud account of the presence of different varieties of water hyacinth. In fact, the growing presence of these invasive plant species have undermined the flourishing ecosystem of the lake due to their inherent nature of depriving oxygen from other aquatic species living underneath.

The lake, being an integral part of a very large fresh water habitat, should be best protected for the local needs; and also, as it’s the only major natural fresh water lake in the state.

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