Save Sukhna Case

HC calls for short-term steps to prevent lake from drying

CHANDIGARH: Much before the onset of the next summer, treated water will keep the level up at Sukhna Lake. As the “Save Sukhna” case came up for resumed hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chandigarh Administration informed the Bench that the STP at Kishangarh village was expected to begin the trial run nine months from the opening of tenders in mid-May.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30

Much before the onset of the next summer, treated water will keep the level up at Sukhna Lake. As the “Save Sukhna” case came up for resumed hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chandigarh Administration informed the Bench that the STP at Kishangarh village was expected to begin the trial run nine months from the opening of tenders in mid-May.

Taking a note of the assertion, the Division Bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal asked amicus curiae Tanu Bedi to suggest short-term and long-term measures to prevent the lake from drying up in the meantime.

The Bench also asked the authorities concerned to complete within a month the task of relaying the entire lake pathway within a month. As of now, 1,500 metres of the total 2,300 metres has been covered.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Administration placed before the Bench a letter, which said: The tender for installation of sewage treatment plant at Kishangarh village has been invited by the office and is due to be opened on May 17. It will take about nine months for design, installation, testing, commissioning and the trial run of the STP. However, it is subjected to the examination of committee of technical head of the stakeholders, the governments of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh”.

Before parting with the order, the Bench verbally observed that the citizens were apparently not as concerned as they ought to be about the issue. Suggestions were invited, but the people were more critical than appreciative of the initiatives.

A communication placed before the Bench on a previous date of hearing had made it clear the STP would be built on the public private partnership mode (PPP).  “The detailed parameters of the treated sewage (after treatment) have been finalised by a committee of five officers (including one officer from the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee),” the communication read.

The rain-fed lake at the foothills of the Himalayas was created way back in 1958 by damming the Sukhna choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills.

The High Court, in its order dated March 14, 2011, had also issued directions for restoring the lake to its former glory.

The Division Bench of the High Court, in May 2012, had directed the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Chandigarh Administration, to not just stop construction activity in the catchment area of the lake, but also to demolish without notice any construction being carried out against the High Court mandate.

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