Haider Ali Canal: An agricultural stream turned sewage dump running through the heart of Lucknow
Have you seen a long drain flowing around the city— starting from behind the Lucknow Zoo premises, running across Hazratganj, Rajajipuram, and Charbagh? That's Haider Ali Canal!
Built by Nawab Wazir of Awadh, Ghazi-ud-din Haider Ali, between 1814 and 1827, the Haider Ali Canal was supposed to pass through Lucknow for irrigation purposes, connecting the river Gomti to the river Ganga.
However, the stream project came to a halt due to a lack of scientific influence. The canal now plays the role of a drain, carrying the city's waste and dumping it into Gomti river.
The question is– how did Haider Ali Canal go from an important tributary of Gomti River, to a drain, in all these years?
The origins of the 200+ year old canal
The idea of the canal originated when Raja Bukhtawar Singh persuaded Ghazi-ud-din Haider to connect the two rivers to help the agriculture sector.
According to official records dating back to the 1800s, the contractors under which the canal was to be built had not planned the construction ideally. The faulty management and lack of planning, back then, led to the closing of the project midway. Since then, the Haider Ali canal stays unfinished and runs through the city with sewage waste until it meets the Gomti River.
Additionally, the negligence of the governments throughout these years has led the canal to become a significant source of pollution in the river. Although there isn’t much solid waste flowing, many local sewages open in the channel, which eventually mixes with the water in Gomti.
However, the canal can help with flood control and irrigation if revived with proper planning and management. There's a lot of scope for something good to come out of this!