It takes just one glance at the Neela Hauz lake to know what ails it. A small but important water body in the southern ridge, the lake should have been brimming with water after last week’s rainstorm.
But heaps of earth and construction debris in the lake’s bed hinder its natural harvesting of the rainwater.
The Public Works Department (PWD) constructed a bridge across the lake to cut short the distance between Old JNU Campus and Vasant Kunj. However it has left behind debris in the bed of the centuries old lake.
The agency is supposed to clear the earth and the construction debri by July 31.
Two weeks before the deadline, the shuttering, scaffolding erected to support during construction, is yet to be removed from beneath one portion of the bridge, not to mention the heaps of earth scattered all over the lake bed.
Residents of Vasant Kunj, who have been protesting PWD’s construction over the water body, are unsure about the agency meeting the deadline. On Sunday, a core group of residents met to chalk out a plan to clear the lake.
“If the authorities do not clear the lake, we plan to carry out shramdaan (volunteer work) on September 5 by roping in people from neighbouring colonies and students from south Delhi schools. Our priority is to clear out excess soil and pull out the weeds,” said Nitya Jacob, an activist-writer from the group. Another member, Sudha Bhattacharya, who is also the Dean of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Environmental Science, plans to rope in her students for the outreach activity.
However, PWD’s Principal Chief Engineer A.K. Sinha is confident the department will meet the clean-up deadline. “The bridge would be ready by July 25, only after which we would remove the material and earth from the lake bed. Our work would be over by July end,” he assured.
Accordign to the Delhi Development Authority, Neela Hauz is to be converted into a Biodiversity Park.