An email received - speaks of indifference & neglect

 

As you know, most of us, who live in this part of the world, lack civic sense. The same also goes for this town. Naturally, we all here share part of the blame for the fast degeneration of this rare world heritage.

Our indolence and that of the mandarins who ``manage'' the affairs of this town is evident from the 72 nullahas (storm water drains) that criss-cross the hills surrounding this cup-shaped hill station. And all these nullahas were built by the British to prevent landslides on the fragile hills on which this town is precariously placed.

The British built these nullahas after this town witnessed several major landslides, in which hundreds of people (both natives as well as Europeans) perished. Interestingly, Remco, all these nullahas are intact even nearly more than 100 years after they had been built. All these nullahas have several catch-pits, which used to automatically collect the huge amount of detritus and soil washed away by runoff leaving pure water to be flown into the Naini Lake. And these nullahas were meticulously and constantly cleaned during the British period.

Now, when you will visit here you will find all these catch pits badly choked with soil, detritus (leftovers of illegal construction) and huge amounts of polythene bags. We citizens of this town share most of the blame for that because we throw plastic bags carelessly just about anywhere we wish to. That along with detritus is washed away directly into the nullahas by rain water and gets deposited into the catch pits.

But here is another problem: No government agency here cares to clean these catch pits of the huge amount of garbage and detritus they contain.

Besides, the fragile slopes on which this town is perched are also getting degenerated owing to tectonic activity. In that sense, time is just ticking by for this premier hill station, which you will see with your own eyes when you will visit the Balia Nullah area. The waters of the Naini Lake pass through the ravine, which along with the hills on all its three sides is in the process of getting literally pulverized partly because of the tectonic activity and partly due to the lake water.

So, for you motivating the people to help them keep their own town clean could be a great challenge. Besides, officials here take up developmental activities turning a blind eye to the fragility of this hill station. You will see how in Mallital area cement and concrete has covered the otherwise porous ground in the Flats area near the Naini Lake.

Besides, equally in bad shape are the rare heritage bungalows, churches etc left behind by the enterprising and imaginative British (though they built these heritage buildings and infrastructure to suit their colonial interests, these speak volumes of how honest they were to their work).

To cut the long story short, it's a highly mismanaged town. That is evident from a proposal mooted by an official committee way back in 1976. The Committee had suggested that satellite towns should be developed in the vicinity of Nainital.

The idea was to take away huge amount of population pressure from this town. You will not believe, that suggestion is literally in the cold bag even 30 years after it had been made. . .