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Posted at: Aug 4, 2018, 1:57 AM; last updated: Aug 4, 2018, 1:57 AM (IST)

HC informed about move to declare Sukhna a wetland

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3

The Chandigarh Administration informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court about the move to declare Sukhna Lake a wetland on Friday. Once in place, restrictions will be imposed on constructions around the lake.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, a Division Bench was verbally told that a committee, constituted for the purpose, would look into the issue. Efforts were also on to implement the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

The rules prohibit a range of activities in wetlands such as setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of effluents. 

Wetlands are areas where the water table is usually at, or near the surface, or else, the land is covered 

by shallow water. The

wetlands support rich biodiversity and offer extensive variety of ecosystem services such as water storage, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, aquifer recharge and others.

According to information, at least 115 wetlands have been officially identified by the Central Government. Out of them, 26 wetlands have been identified as wetlands of international importance. 

The prohibited activities include any kind of encroachment, setting up of industry, expansion of existing industries, solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages and other human settlements, poaching and any construction of a permanent nature.

The state of Haryana, during the course of the hearing, submitted a status report informing the Bench of blocking the flow of sewage into the lake. The case will now come up on August 9 for further hearing.

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 and its former glory.

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

The High Court has already been told that the treated water will keep the levels up in Sukhna Lake. The Chandigarh Administration during the course of hearing informed the Bench that the STP in Kishangarh village was expected to begin a trial run nine months from the opening of tenders in mid-May.

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