Save Dumna, Jabalpur
Save Dumna, Jabalpur
Home to leopards, rich biodiversity, and the Khandari lake – the Dumna forest ecosystem spread over 1,800 acres is currently facing a crisis of survival.
As a citizen of India, I am dismayed at the lack of understanding and careless attitude of our government and public representatives towards this area. Dumna ensures the citizens of Jabalpur better air quality, provides part of the city’s drinking water, and is one of the last remaining green spaces that greatly enhance the quality of human life.
This forested land is on a plateau, about 40 meters above Jabalpur town, and is also the catchment area for the Khandari Lake. Rainwater that falls in the forested area of Dumna feeds the Khandari Reservoir, which in turn provides 1/3 of the city’s drinking water. The Khandari Dam was constructed in February 1883.
The Jabalpur Development Plan already recognizes Dumna as an eco-sensitive zone. The area has a rich history of over 150 years of conservation and is home to many native species of trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses. It boasts of diverse eco-systems - woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. It is home to nearly 2,000 deer-like cheetal, barking deer, and the four-horned antelope. Dumna is also home to the jungle cat, Asiatic wild cat, wild boar, and crocodile, to name only a few. More than 300 bird species, both migrant and resident, have been recorded here. Notably, Dumna also has a resident population of 9 leopards. It is important to note that so far, not a single
case of human-wildlife conflict has been reported.
One part of Dumna is the Dumna Nature Reserve – an 1800-acre forested area that is managed by the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation. It is a much-loved green space that has been studied by scientists, researchers, and naturalists for the range of habitats and species it holds. It is also frequented by the citizens of Jabalpur, young and old, from various walks of life for leisure, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
In short – Dumna provides us with clean air, clean water, and an enhanced quality of life. It is a point of great pride in the natural and cultural history of Jabalpur.
We are aware that the following are being proposed at Dumna:
- Road widening which will require the felling of large trees (This is being heard in the honorable court of Madhya Pradesh to have minimal environmental damage)
- An IPL level stadium which now has become a Green Sports Complex (40 Acres)
- Offices for the Railways (40 Acres)
- Land to Revenue Department for Residence (10 Acres)
- Land to Lokayukta (5 Acres)
- 4/5 star hotels / resorts (10 Acres)
We fear until you read this mail much more land would have been allotted to several private and public entities.
Given the eco-sensitive nature of this area, we demand to find alternative sites for these projects. As citizens, we know that any development that is done at the cost of our existing quality of life will only take us backward. For example, we know that waste from a nearby university has already been flowing into Khandari Lake, polluting our drinking water source. Over that due to the frequent leopard movement around the university, the management has put up razor-sharp barbed wires without any permission. Development in this area will mean the felling of old trees, polluting of waterways and will lower quality of air in our city. It will mean a devastating loss of an urban forest that has stood the test of time. The loss will be even greater for the wildlife that lives here, creating more conflict with humans.
Earlier, a tiger safari was being proposed at Dumna. The state issued orders to find an alternative site for the same. It is our urgent plea that alternative sites be found for the other proposed projects as well and that the eco-sensitive zone of Dumna be declared a GREEN ZONE, where no construction can take place. Even before the pandemic, we have been in the midst of a Global Climate Crisis. Biodiverse and old-growth forests like Dumna sequester carbon at a much greater rate than compensatory afforestation by planting new saplings. Therefore, it is a matter of great urgency that we protect this green space and declare it a NO CONSTRUCTION ZONE.
Several PIL’s and RTI’s have been filed by lawyers, naturalists, and activists in regard to specific issues. But tackling each issue one by one is not in the interest of either us citizens or the state. Hence, we would like to request that Dumna be declared a no-construction zone.
We request both the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation as well as the Madhya Pradesh State Government to co-operate in ensuring that Dumna is preserved for future generations as a point of pride in the history of the city and state.
An alternative site for all these projects must be found at the earliest.