“Govt ups efforts to resuscitate crawling Gomti” by Neha Shukla, Times of India
By Neha Shukla, Times of India
May 23, 2011
Lucknow: The fact that Gomti’s flow and level have reduced drastically has caught the attention of the government which is now mulling to constitute a river conservation unit for its restoration and conservation. The river, reeling under the bane of pollution and encroachment, has its flow reduced to one-third and is in an urgent need of revival. UP chief secretary, on May 12, had directed the irrigation department to restore the flow in the river and remove encroachments from its banks right from Pilibhit to Ghazipur.
Efforts for Gomti’s revival have gained momentum after this. The sources in the government shared that the chief secretary has sought a detailed project report (DPR) on restoration of the river till May 30. “There have been directives to mark the river’s active flood plain and restore the land to irrigation department,” said sources. The directives came on the observations made by a cabinet team headed by additional cabinet secretary Ravindra Singh. The team had carried out an aerial survey of the river on April 11. The efforts to collect data on Gomti’s land use using remote sensing have begun after this. Gomti is a tributary of Ganga which originates in a lake, Fullar Jheel, at Madhotanda in Pilibhit district. The total length of the river is about 940 km and it flows entirely in the state of UP.
In its upper reaches, it is encroached upon by human settlements and agricultural fields and in the downstream, there are embankments and concrete structures. “Not less than 400 structures might have come up along 35-40 km of the river in Pilibhit,” said Venkatesh Dutta, convener, Gomti Study Group.
The total drainage area of the river is 30,437 sq km. It has some 24 tributaries with Sai being the major one.
Most of these tributaries were perennial. “But now 25% of them have dried up in the upper catchment area,” said Dutta. Besides, 33%-35% of water flow is less than the ecological flow.
- Gomti drains the area lying between Ramganga and Sharda in upper reaches and Ganga and Ghaghra in lower reaches
- After flowing southwards through districts of Lucknow, Barabanki, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Jaunpur, it confluences with Ganga in Varanasi
- It serves as a major source of drinking water for Lucknow, and supplies drinking water to over 14 other towns located on its banks. These include Lakhimpur Kheri, Sultanpur and Jaunpur.
- It receives untreated wastewater and effluents from urban settlements through 40 wastewater drains.
- It is most polluted in its 22-km stretch in Lucknow and at some places, it looks like a drain.
- The initial stretch of it (about 25 km) is completely encroached by agricultural fields. Water quality (level of dissolved oxygen) is good till Naimisharanya but deteriorates after getting wastewater from Sitapur