M A I N   N E W S

Saving Sukhna
UT’s claims to save Sukhna do not hold water, court told
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Already in troubled waters for failure to save Sukhna Lake, the Chandigarh Administration’s claims of “doing enough” were today washed away by the amicus curiae appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a fresh petition, Tanu Bedi minced no words while asserting that the Administration was “ruthless” enough to set up the information technology (IT) park in the ecologically fragile area near the lake, which has undergone a sea change primarily due to five decades of administrative neglect and non-scientific approach.

Punjab tries to slip through

n Punjab on Thursday made an apparent attempt to wash its hands off the controversy by saying “silt formation was a natural process”. In an affidavit, Executive Engineer with Bhakra main line division Geeta Singla said: “Preventive measures to control the siltation was out of jurisdiction of the Government of Punjab, as the area falls in the state of Himachal and Haryana.

n “Moreover, siltation of lake is a natural process, as it happenes in most of the other manmade dams like the Bhakra and Beas, where lakes get a lot of silt and the time capacity of the reservoir/lake decreases”.

Appearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari, Bedi also virtually lambasted the authorities concerned for not demarcating the lake’s catchment area and allowing construction activity on it.

Bedi made it clear that the lake would soon lose what it has gained in the rains due to the leaking floodgates.

Bedi asserted in the petition: “The excitement of urbanisation, leading to unchecked construction activity in and around the catchment area of the water body, has posed a big threat to the ecological sensitive zone of the lake…

“The efforts by the administration are commendable, but not sufficient to undo the damage resulting from the long sleep of five decades leading to the problem of Sukhna Lake”.

Bedi said the lake “for more than five decades has undergone a lot of change in water storage capacity and original size” due to heavy deposits of silt, water-loss and construction in the catchment area.

“All this happened, among other things, because of the Administration’s neglect, absence of scientific approach to deal with the problem, lack of strong administrative will, undertaking of efforts as a piecemeal measure, rather than a consolidated action plan.”

The proceedings, which lasted for approximately 15 minutes, saw Bedi telling the Bench that the leakage in the floodgates was reported in 2003-04.

Calling for the formulation of a concrete plan to block the leakage, she underscored the need for initiation of action within two weeks.

Appearing for the state of Punjab, Additional Advocate-General Rupinder Khosla asked for making the state of Himachal Pradesh a party to the writ petition - a prayer not allowed at the first instance by the Bench.

Referring to an affidavit by the UT Administration, Justice Tewari said the Superintendent Engineer had made no reference to catchment area in the hill state. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Tewari asked Bedi to verify the fact. The case will now come up on September 23.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |