WETLANDS OF SINDHUDURG
Universiry of Life - Struggle to Success story
The almost 500-year old lake, which is located near the campus of Syamantak "University of Life" in Dhamapur village, is a man-made biodiversity-rich site and a tourist spot. Since centuries it is a source of drinking water for many villages around it. Trouble began for the lake in 2014 when the district administration initiated the construction of a skywalk consisitng 1600 concrete pillars in the lake, which was built in 1530, and is spread over an area of 43.80 hectares as per the latest report of the water resources department. Syamantak "UOL" Interns did a detail study of the lake and raised an objection to the construction activity. As per the Wetlands Conservation and Managments Rules and rulings of various courts, construction is not allowed with in 75 meters of a wetland. After fighting a battle with the administration of Sindhudurg for over a year, the young Inern of UOL pursuing law filed a environment litigation in National Green Tribunal (West Zone).
A singular struggle to save biodiversity rich Dhamapur Lake transformed into an ongoing documentation process of 480 wetlands, across 5 districts of Konkan region. Sindhudurg Wetlands is the pilot project of this expansive endeavour, conceptualized and initiated by Syamantak ``University of Life" Interns. It is a first of its kind, community driven project involving student from colleges, schools and experts from variety of fields like Wildlife photographers, Botanists , Zoologists, Geographers, Soil scientists, Landscape architects, Anthropologists, Environment lawyers, Agriculturists, Educationists and volunteers from a wide spectrum of the society. Not only has this project resulted in community-wide involvement, hands-on practical education and huge revenue savings in administration, but the core of its outcomes are immeasurable, invisible and sustainable, just like it essence : A community that finds itself connected to the cause of wetlands and a society that genuinely reveres and is aware of its surroundings. It is yet to be seen but a socratic way of thinking might be taking shape at a community level.
The website www.sindhudurgwetlands.in is another exemplar of community participation. A team of pan-India web-developers and designers teamed up to develop a brief documentation website of Sindhudurg district. On the occasion of our 73rd Independence day India's first wetland brief documentation website was launched. With this website, it is our hope to invite the society as a whole to be part of this movement of sustainable development, to understand the subtleties of this ecological treasure, to spread awareness and to make change happen.