Sunday, 29 April 2018 | PNS | Dehradun– Dehradun, a city swept by swift-flowing canals, is now a thing of the past and regrettably enough, most of the people now residing in the bustling city have no knowledge about how the city was when it came up as beautiful one with less population and more nature. Once there were five such canals and now the number has come down to one or two and it is likely that they would too die out with the pressure of population increasing by leaps and bounds There were once five canals in the city. One of them was ‘Katapatthar Canal’ flowing on the west side of Dehradun. Built in 18th century, it was fed by Yamuna. Another was ‘Bijapur Canal’ that received its water from Tons river. The Third was ‘Khalanga Canal’ which used to flow on the western border of eastern Dehradun ahead the Rispana river. The fourth was ‘Jakhan Canal’ that originated from Rispana river and flew till Bhogpur. And the last though the oldest one is ‘Rajpur canal’ which came up close to 300 years ago. It used to supply drinking water once. It is the only one which is still flowing, though now a ghost of its former self. The reasons behind the once thriving canals now dying out or already dead are many. The most important reason is the moves undertaken after Dehradun became the provisional state capital to widen the roads to ease the traffic flow with the number of the vehicles rising enormously. While dwelling on it, Abhai Mishra, a scientist in Defence Research and Development Organisation, said “The growing city and the corresponding huge growth in traffic resulted in the depletion of the canals which used to play immense role in the conservation of the ecosystem. Once Dehradun was unthinkable being devoid of such canals. Now most of them have either lost their way amidst the plethora of building coming up with a maddening pace or just have maintained their existence though reduced to mere nalah. This is the price the city is paying for its growth,” he lamented. The canals when they were flowing helped the areas in many ways. The local farmers used them for irrigating their farmlands. They also used to keep the climate cool even during the scorching summer days. They helped vegetation with the required moisture. “We used to see flowers in bloom on the sides of the roads swept by such canals. Now we are finding the same roads littered with the waste,” Mishra rued. He further said that the canals which are still alive though feebly can be revived to some extend if sincere efforts are made. “If no such effort is made they would also dry up soon to the woe of the city and those living in it,” he said.