Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Capital’s lakes & ponds stare at a ‘watery grave’, govt readies lifeline

Revival of the Hauz Khas lake will be taken up under the project. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand) Revival of the Hauz Khas lake will be taken up under the project. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand)
Written by Ruhi Bhasin , Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Posted: August 18, 2014 1:10 am

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is responsible for 63 water bodies in the capital. Most of these lakes and ponds are, however, dying. In an effort aimed at saving them, the DDA recently drew up a list of 10 important water bodies, which will be revived under a public-private partnership (PPP) project.

For the project, the DDA has sought the assistance of NGOs to help revive the water bodies, recharge the depleting watertable and turn the areas around these lakes and ponds into recreation spots. “We will sign a memorandum of understanding with three NGOs by next week and, to begin with, 10 water bodies will be revived under the public-private partnership scheme,” DDA Vice-Chairman Balvinder Kumar said.

The Hauz Khas lake, Shamsi Talab in Mehrauli and Bhalswa lake are among the first ones to be taken up under the scheme. The Braj Foundation and INTACH are among the three NGOs which have been shortlisted as of now, an official said.

Officials said the NGOs were asked to select the water bodies they want to revive and, accordingly, the 10 water bodies have been shortlisted.

“For each water body, a memorandum of association (MoA) would be signed. These agencies will maintain the water bodies as well as generate funds from corporate houses and international agencies for the revival, conservation and maintenance efforts. The DDA will be a partner in the development and conservation process,” an official said.

Earlier, the DDA had shortlisted four agencies, which have expertise in conserving water bodies. For instance, the Braj Foundation has in the past revived water bodies and lakes in Mathura and Vrindavan. Another shortlisted NGO, Samarthya, has experience in maintenance of lakes in Krizkod, Kerala.

Rajneesh Kapur of Braj Foundation said they wanted to revive both the lake at Hauz Khas village and the Satpullah dam. “Efforts to maintain and clean the Hauz Khas lake by previous authorities have been lacklustre. While concretisation has taken place, it has not always been done in a scientific manner. The Satpullah dam in Saket is in dire need of desilting,” he said.

“After DDA’s legal department examines various aspects of the MoU, the detailed project report for the entire exercise will be prepared, following which we will be looking at corporate donations to fund the project,” Kapur said.

Other agencies include Forum for Organised Resources Conservation and Enhancement (FORCE), which has been associated with reviving the Hauz Khas lake in the past, and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which has been providing consultancy for revival of the Hauz Khas and Sanjay lakes, among others.

“We are still waiting for the DDA to revert back to us with regard to the project,” an INTACH official said.

Expression of Interest was invited by continued…

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