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Need to devise measures other than rainwater to save Sukhna Lake: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Raising concern about drying up of man-made Sukhna Lake during peak summer season, HC expressed the need to devise “alternative and artificial measures”

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
August 10, 2016 4:29:26 am
rain, delhi rain, haryana rain, rain in shimla, punjab rainfall, heavy rain in delhi, india news Fiile Photo: Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, August 04 2016. (Express Photo by Sahil Walia/file) 

Raising concern about drying up of man-made Sukhna Lake during peak summer season, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday expressed the need to devise “alternative and artificial measures” other than the rainwater to save Sukhna Lake, and directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh authorities to give wide publicity seeking suggestions from Tricity residents within three weeks.

“Chandigarh is a heritage city. We request everybody to give suggestions how to sort it out and we will request Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, and UT Adviser to sit together. We can’t only depend on rainwater. We will have to devise some other source to get water there (lake),” said a division bench comprising Justices A K Mittal and Ramendra Jain.

The court also directed the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula Municipal Corporation, Haryana public health department and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to ensure that sewerage water from Saketri is not discharged into Sukhna Choe carrying water into the lake. Justice Mittal said that during an inspection carried out on August 6 by both the judges, along with Chandigarh officials and advocates, it was found that sewerage at Saketri was flowing through the Sukhna Choe and ultimately reaching the Sukhna Lake.

The High Court had taken suo motu notice of the depletion in water level in Sukhna Lake in 2009 and since then it has been monitoring the case.

The court said that Tricity residents can give their suggestions to amicus curiae advocate Tanu Bedi (tanubedi@yahoo.com) or to senior advocate M L Sareen as it is a joint effort by everyone to save the lake from drying up. “We have received good response from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. That was very encouraging that everybody is ready to give funds,” Justice Mittal said.

Amicus curiae Bedi informed the court that earlier the Haryana government was denying that the sewerage water was not being discharged into Sukhna Choe from the area within its jurisdiction and now the photographs depicting the sorry state of affairs are on record.

A retired official of HMT, Puran Chand, on Tuesday informed the court through a map that how a rainwater channel could be diverted to Sukhna Lake to check its depleting water level. The court asked the amicus curiae to look into the suggestion and bring it on the next date of hearing along with other suggestions.

Also, during the arguments, advocate Surya Prakash requested the court to allow construction activity in the Sukhna catchment area, including Kansal and adjoining villages. “We don’t need high-rise buildings but at least single-story buildings should be allowed,” he submitted. But the court refused to give any such relief by stating, “First go to the Supreme Court and get the stay vacated in Kansal. Then only we can allow construction.” The case was posted for next hearing to September 5.

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