Jheel Ke Kinaare: Crisis in the City of Lakes (Part II)

Filmed by Kartikeya Saxena 

Last month, we looked at one part of Udaipur’s troubled water scenario; how Udaipur is burdened by the ever-increasing number of hotels around the area, which has led to several confrontations between the locals and the hotel industry at large. 

In Part II of this series, we take a look at how a poor water treatment system mixed with polluting legacy industries — Hindustan Zinc in particular — are adding to the city’s crisis.

A lack of an efficient water treatment plant network in the city has led to the disposal of untreated sewerage in the lakes situated in the city – Fateh Sagar and Pichola. In a survey conducted in April 2019, Lake Pichola alone had 15 inlets of sewerage water from around the city. Fateh Sagar, on the other hand, has been the site of solid waste disposal for domestic areas around the lake for years. A study conducted in 2008, found 400-500 tonnes of solid waste disposed on the banks of the lake. 

The industries in and around the city also have a role to play here. For instance, Hindustan Zinc’s plant located near the Udai Sagar lake is infamous for extracting disproportionately large amounts of water from the lake and releasing harmful industrial effluents into the lake in turn. After exploiting the lake’s surface water, the plant has now turned to its groundwater reserves digging up over 20 borewells in the lake’s bed to meet its water demands. Although there have been some genuine attempts to do good work through its CSR programme, Hindustan Zinc still leaves a sour taste in the mouth of several of Udaipur’s citizenry. 

This is Part II of the documentary series — Jheel Ke Kinaare: Crisis in the City of Lakes.

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