Fewa is not an artificial lake

Sujit Mainali / August 11, 2017

The Fewa lake in Pokhara.                                                                                                          Photo: Mohan Mainali

When several media including two national dailies Nagarik and Republica reported that tourism entrepreneur Karna Shakya has been running a resort in Pokhara by encroaching the famed Fewa lake, Shakya issued a statement terming the allegations as baseless.

In the statement, he also claimed that Fewa is an artificial lake.

Shakya said: “We have to understand that Fewa is an artificial lake that formed after a dam was constructed during the Rana period.” 

South Asia Check has examined whether this statement is fact-based or not.

According to a study report “Pokhara Valley: A Geographical Survey” prepared by noted geographer Dr Harka Gurung, Pokhara lakes were formed when the pre-glacial drainage system was filled up by the outwash drift of the valley train (1965, pg 10). This report is based on Dr Gurung’s PhD thesis submitted to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1965.

Dr Gurung’s book “Vignettes of Nepal” and “Faces of Nepal” further mentions that Jung Bahadur Rana, the founder of Rana regime in Nepal, had planned to pump the water of the lake for irrigation but the plan was unsuccessful.

“Vignettes of Nepal” has quoted following remarks of British author Perceval Landon (1867-1927):

“The highest level [of the lake] is, however, so much lower than that of the valley that irrigation can only be affected by a large pumping plant. Jang Bahadur had a scheme for installing these pumps and hoped that he might secure an annual income of thirty or forty thousand pounds thereby. But the presence of an European engineer was regarded as essential, and the traditional hatred of the presence of foreigners, even Jang Bahadur did not care to challenge” (1980, pg 150-151, Sajha Prakashan, Kathmandu).

Dr Gurung’s another book “Faces of Nepal” states that the lake referred by Landon was Fewa.

Therefore, Karna Shakya’s claim is baseless.

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