Controversy surrounding Indore’s Pipliyahana reservoir is refusing to die. Now, the water body has become a tiff between politicians and judiciary. While the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the state government are constructing a modern court complex on it, the city’s public representatives and citizens oppose the move.
Though activists and conservationists have been staging demonstrations against the construction work, joining of politicians have gave momentum to their movement. Conservationists claimed the construction of a building would gradually kill the water body.
The 13-foot-deep Pipliyahana Lake, once a perennial water body spread over 5.02 hectares, has now become a seasonal water body and could only retain water for approximately 4-5 months after monsoons. The lake is mainly fed by rain and storm water.
In March, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled in favour of construction of a modern district court complex on it with a rider. The central bench of NGT comprising judicial member Justice Sonam Phintso Wangdi and expert member Satyawan Singh Garbyal ruled that construction can take place at least 30 meters away from the ‘full tank level’ of the water body and that the water body should not suffer any kind of damage.
Sensing the issue to be sensitive and connected to environmental concerns, legislators and corporators from the Congress and the ruling BJP have joined activists and conservationists to protest the construction work.
On Sunday, Congress legislator Jeetu Patwari and his supporters vandalised vehicles of the firm doing construction work and locked down its office on the site. Seeing this, the BJP legislators and corporators also started opposing the project despite the fact that it was approved by the state government led by their party.
“The reservoir now looks like cut into two parts. The channels through which rainwater used to accumulate in the reservoir are now cut by the wall,” said social activist Kishore Kodwani, who had moved a petition before the NGT.
“The construction company is drawing water out from the reservoir through motor pumps, which is against the rulings of the tribunal,” said Kodwani. “If the district administration do not comply with guidelines of the NGT and stop the ongoing works damaging the water body, I shall take to ‘Jal Satyagraha’ from Sunday.”