THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Monday requested the Chandigarh Administrator’s Adviser Parimal Rai, Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh and Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar to be present in court on September 22 with their suggestions for restoring the pristine glory of Sukhna Lake.
A division bench comprising Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Ramendra Jain was hearing a case wherein it had taken suo motu notice of the depletion of water level in Sukhna Lake in 2009 and since then it had been monitoring the case.
The court, however, pulled up the Chandigarh Administration for its lackadaisical attitude in not taking the issue seriously and just depending upon court orders. The court directed the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand, present in the court, to ensure removal of weed from the lake within two weeks. The court said that it was for the engineering department to decide whether it was capable of taking out weed itself or would have to outsource the task. The court, while addressing the chief engineer, said that the Chandigarh Administration might not be taking the issue of Sukhna Lake’s slow death lightly but the court was really serious.
It was decided that Justices Mittal and Jain, along with amicus curiae (advocate appointed to assist court) Tanu Bedi, senior advocates M L Sareen and Reeta Kohli, Chandigarh and Punjab authorities would be visiting the Sukhna Lake for inspection at 5 pm on September 20.
The court also asked the Chandigarh Administration officials and the amicus curiae to go through the suggestions in the full-page article “Saving Sukhna” that appeared in Chandigarh Newsline in Monday edition. The authorities were asked to inform the court as to how much water was needed to fill the Sukhna Lake and what could be the source of water like borewell, tubewell, pipeline or some other source. The court held that the lake could be filled up to the desired level by the end of this year only with collective efforts of court, authorities and citizens.
The amicus curiae said that she had received suggestions for restoring the lake from the Tricity residents after the Chandigarh Administration’s public notice was issued in newspapers on August 24 but some more suggestions were expected since the residents were given time of three weeks. On this, the court directed the amicus curiae to compile all the suggestions to submit in the court on the next date of hearing on September 22.
The court was informed that the Patiala Draining Circle team had conducted a survey and found that the water from Patiala-Ki-Rao could not be diverted into Sukhna Lake through Kansal Nadi as it was purely against the existing site contours and against the nature and environment. It was also submitted that Punjab had already cleared its area of Kansal Choe to receive the discharge water of upper reaches so as to further flow into the Sukhna Lake.