Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 2
Kansal and Nayagaon residents did not get any relief from the Punjab and Haryana High Court today for the construction in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake. No less than 80 residents had moved the High Court mounting a challenge to the demolition notice received for pulling down the construction. However, the matter stands adjourned to Thursday.
Appearing before the Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Rajiv Sharma, counsel for the petitioners submitted that their area had been included in the residential area in a master plan. As such, construction activity was permissible in their area.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae in the case ML Sarin, on the other hand, submitted that there was a stay on construction activity in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake. Yet, construction activity was on by both neighbouring states and was required to be stopped. Taking a note of the submission, the Bench verbally observed that both states wanted to take advantage in Chandigarh’s name, but stepped back when their contribution was required.
The Punjab Government, during the course of the hearing, submitted that any direction issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests was applicable to Chandigarh, but not Punjab. As such, objection could not be raised regarding the construction activity in the Nayagaon and Kansal area.
Haryana, in the meantime, denied any construction in the catchment area.
The Supreme Court had, earlier this month, held that the Camelot project violated environmental norms. “Considering the distance of 123 metres from the northern side and 183 metres from the eastern side of the project in question from the wildlife sanctuary, in our opinion, no such project can be allowed to come up in the area in question,” a three-Judge Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said, adding, “Such projects cannot be permitted to come up within such a short distance from the wildlife sanctuary.”
The Bench – which also included Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai — said the project went against permissible norms as it fell within the catchment area of Sukhna Lake. “The court has to perform its duty in such a scenario when the authorities have failed to protect the wildlife sanctuary eco-sensitive zone.”
Sukhna Lake was declared a wetland more than three decades ago. In a status report placed before the High Court, it was stated that the UT Administrator, vide a notification dated July 6, 1988, had declared the area of Sukhna Lake a “wetland”.
The notification made it clear that the wetland comprising Sukhna Lake served as “suitable niche for fish and other aquatic animals, a breeding and nursery ground for water fowls and as filters for sediments and pollutants, apart from being an ideal spot for water sports”.
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