Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday visited Neela Hauz on Aruna Asaf Ali Marg and instructed the officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) to clear the water body of the debris by July first week.
Dikshit’s visit, she spent about 45 minutes at the spot, comes a day after Hindustan Times reported how the campaign to save the lake in south Delhi had gained momentum with university students and academicians joining hands with residents of nearby areas including Vasant Kunj and Malviya Nagar.
Environmentalists claimed the ancient water body is drying and dying due to construction debris due to the bridge across the lake.
“I assured the activists that we will ensure that the lake does not die. About 500 metres or so of the road (carpeting on the bridge) is yet to be completed. Once that is done, debris would be removed. I have instructed the PWD officials to carry out this work by July first week,” the chief minister said.
“I also told them not to pull out the weeds as it looks green. I told them to keep it till the Commonwealth Games, only after which we can decide what can be done to the lake.”
PWD Minister Rajkumar Chauhan, officials from the PWD and activists including Vinod Jain of NGO Tapas who has been fighting to save Delhi’s water bodies and environmentalist writer Nitya Jacob were present.
Jain, who also gave a 2008 satellite image of the lake to Dikshit on the spot, said, “I had got a stay from the High Court in 2002 when the PWD had decided to build a road after draining the lake. The court had then commented that the PWD could use modern technology to build a bridge instead of killing the water body by building a road.”
As reported by HT on Wednesday, the DDA has already said the PWD is supposed to hand the lake over to it by July 31.