How ‘wetland’ status will help Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lakehttps://indianexpress.com/article/explained/how-wetland-status-will-help-chandigarhs-sukhna-lake-6083887/

How ‘wetland’ status will help Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake

A major threat to Sukhna is the discharge of pollutants from neighbouring areas.

Sukhna lake, ‘wetland’ status for Sukhna Lake, chandigarh news, indian express
Three Sambar Deer cross the forest area behind Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. (Express photo: Jaipal Singh)

The Chandigarh administration had on Monday issued a draft notification for declaring Sukhna Lake as a wetland under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rule, 2017. Suggestions and objections have been invited from residents for the same.

Sukhna Lake was declared a wetland more than 30 years ago as well. A status report placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently stated that the UT administrator had issued such a notification on July 6, 1988, as well. The new notification will include the public’s suggestions and objections as required under the 2017 rules.

When was this decision taken?

In July this year, the Chandigarh Wetlands Authority had unanimously decided to declare the Sukhna Lake as a wetland. It was the second meeting of the Union Territory of Chandigarh Wetlands Authority that was chaired by Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore. At the meeting, officers of the Punjab and Haryana government were also asked to join UT in conserving the lake.

How will this help Sukhna?

Declaring Sukhna a wetland will help preserve the lake and conserve its ecological and biodiversity. A major threat to Sukhna is the discharge of pollutants from neighbouring areas. Sukhna Wetland is spread over 565 acres.The catchment area of Sukhna Wetland spreading over 10,395 acres as finalised by the Survey of India includes 2,525 acres of Haryana and 684 acres of Punjab. With this, various activities will be prohibited/regulated/ promoted both in the wetland as well catchment areas.

What activities will be prohibited?

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Encroachment of any kind, setting up of any industry and expansion of existing industries, manufacturing or handling or storage or disposal of construction and demolition waste covered under the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, hazardous substances covered under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989, or the Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989, or the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans-Boundary Movement) Rules, 2008. This also includes electronic waste covered under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages and other human settlements and any construction of a permanent nature within specific distance of the wetland.

What measures has the administration taken till now?

The administration had recently introduced a programme to include villagers of Kaimbwala under the ‘Friends of Sukhna’ — a voluntary program to keep a check on activities taking place in the area.