West Bengal Rowing Association (WBRA) is to hold their sub-junior national-level tournament at the Rabindra Sarobar lake in the first week of June commemorating the association’s golden jubilee.
The decision to go forward with the tournament was not an easy one to make as the water level of the lake has gone down by nearly 4ft.
“Our tournament course is 500 metres. Since the lake is nearly 900-1,000-metres long, rowing wouldn’t be a problem if we stick to the centre of the water body, as much away from the banks as possible,” said Subhasish Dasgupta, WBRA president.
After last year’s unfortunate incident, when two rowers died in inclement weather and as the year marks the 50th anniversary of the state’s rowing association, it was very important that at least one event is hosted successfully, added Mr Dasgupta.
Rabindra Sarobar is an artificial lake in South Kolkata. In recent years, pollution and environmental degradation have led to a disturbance in the ecological balance of the lake and its biodiversity.
In 2021, dead fish was found floating on the water body due to depleting oxygen levels in the lake. Since then the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority has taken measures to revive the lake, yet the water body remains in a critical condition.
“Most of the high rises in the city are using submersible tube wells to extract groundwater and too much of the same has led to the depletion of Kolkata’s water table, the effects of which are now visible on surface water as well,” said Punarbasu Chaudhuri, professor at Calcutta University in the environmental studies department.
“These events disturb the water body’s parameters, an intensive study to check whether dissolved oxygen levels are sufficient or not as that can harm the lake’s biodiversity,” Mr Chaudhuri added.