The slums have been built all over the lake by influentials, which have been destroying the lake. The grabbers have also built buildings on the banks of the lake, especially, in Reservebazar, Tobolchhori, Bonorupa and College gate area, violating the government rules. Along with illegal buildings, dumping of wastes has also been affecting the lake’s natural beauty as well as flora and fauna. Sajol Kanti Dash, deputy assistant engineer of Public Health Engineering, said: “Once people of the area used water of the lake in daily household chores and other purposes, but now the water of Kaptai Lake is not safe for drinking due to dumping of wastes and open defecation of people.”
“Locals, including indigenous people, used to drink the lake water directly, but now water from deep pumps is the only source of drinking water,” said the engineer.
Hefajat Bari, president of Global Village, an environment-related non-government organistion of the area, said: “Kaptai Lake has lost its fame as natural tourist spot, as people grabbed its embankment.”
The environmental activist said: “Local influential people are building houses in the lake violating rules and rent them to common people.”
He urged the authorities concerned to take immediate actions against the land grabbers to save the lake.
Akbar Hossain, mayor of Rangamati Municipality, said: “We are now working with a proposal to save the lake from the grabbers and water pollution. We are also trying to proceed with an overall urban plan for the town, which will ultimately save the lake.”
Earlier, on Tuesday, five people died when a two-storey building, erected in the lake illegally, collapsed.
The lake, encompassing an area of 700 square kilometres, was created after setting up Kaptai Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) in 1960. The dam was constructed at Kaptai upazila for electricity generation, development of waterway and large scale fish production, sources said.