MEMBERS OF the UT Advisory Council were not convinced with the suggestions put forth by the UT Administration for providing additional water to the drying Sukhna Lake.
When the suggestion of diverting drinking water from Bhakra canal from Kajauli which feeds UT, came up, BJP city chief Sanjay Tandon objected to it. It was after a hiatus of seven months that the second meeting of UT Advisory Council was held and the issue of Sukhna figured high on the agenda.
“There is no need to provide additional water to the lake at the cost of drinking water of Chandigarh people. When the city gets 24X7 water supply, surplus water can be diverted to Sukhna but not at the cost of drinking water supply of residents,” Tandon said.
MP Kirron Kher too said that residents had been promised 24X7 water supply and water might be diverted to Sukhna only after this promise was fulfilled. The administration had been proposing that during winters when the demand for water is less, 2 MGD water from Bhakra be diverted to the lake. But these plans appeared bleak now.
As a presentation was given by the UT Chief Conservator of Forest, Santosh Kumar, suggestions of diverting water to Sukhna from Rajjipur-Ghaggar choe at Rajjipur, Patiala Ki Rao, Kaushalya dam in Pinjore (Kalka) and Parch Dam in Punjab too were taken up. These suggestions were invited by the Chandigarh Administration for the lake following the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions.
However, the members said that these tributaries and dams were rain-fed and when there was no rain, even these went dry. “Sukhna Lake’s water level depletes when there is no rain. It was put forth that when there is no rain, even Ghaggar, Kaushalya dam and all others go dry,” said Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC). “So how can we think of bringing water to the lake from the places which are dry?”
A member of the committee, Kamaljit Singh Pancchi, suggested that regular desilting of Sukhna Lake be done before rainy season and it was important to involve the general public for desilting.
The advisory council was constituted in all UTs with an objective to advise the administration on developmental issues and policy matters. The council includes former MPs, prominent residents, lawyers, local presidents of political parties, MP Kirron Kher, officials of UT Administration and Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.
Solid waste management
When the issue of solid waste management was discussed, UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore said that he was trying to explore the possibility if Chandigarh’s garbage could be sent for processing in Mohali where the garbage plant was coming up. The members, including chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC), said that the situation of sanitation was grim in the city as garbage was not being processed.