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The Land of Vanishing Lakes| 20mins
Director: Ishani K Dutta | Producer: Ashish Dutta
Focus Years: 2009 | Country: India
Subject Tags: asia, ecology, environment, india, livelihood, water
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
The most popular lakes of NCR have disappeared. The 2 billion year old water bodies of the Aravallis – Surajkund, Badkhal and Damdama, have all dried up. This film looks at the nexus between the corrupt bureaucracy with the construction and the mining mafia. With exclusive soundbites from retired forest officers, environmentalists and scientists, we piece together the whole story behind the current mess. This film opens with a few short interviews, which talk about what led to the disappearance of the lakes due to illegal & irresponsible mining and construction of farm houses in the notified forest area of the Aravallis. We talk to experts on the principle of sustainable mining and through their comments, the land- mafia-admin-police-miner nexus comes out, revealing the utter helplessness of the situation. The residents of the area — who have seen the tourist flow getting reduced to a trickle over the years — complain that no effort was ever made to maintain the water flow to the historical Surajkund which is now a fleeting shadow of its past. An alarm had been sounded in the hydrological report submitted by the Ministry of Environment in its affidavit before the forest bench of Supreme Court in August last year. It had mentioned that these used mining pits were found ‘‘filled with water’’ leading to ‘‘massive evaporation of groundwater’’ — about 8.86 lakh ccm of fresh water. The film ends with a ray of hope in spite of apparent ecological disaster and offers a way-ahead in devastated areas.

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