The scion of erstwhile Patiala’s royal family, Malvinder Singh, has raised a red flag over the municipal corporation’s move to beautify the Rajindra Lake, saying that its restoration move has shrunk the lake and destroyed the heritage property.
The MC’s Rs 70-lakh beautification project has been underway for the past two months. He warned the MC that if the lake’s originality is not restored soon, he would move the high court to seek a stay order against its ongoing renovation. The lake, that came up between 1885 and 1989, is named after his predecessors.
He said that it might be popularly known as a lake, but it was a man-made tank, that was aimed at controlling floods in Patiala and managing the water in the city. Over the years, it also became a major spot of ecological preservation. “When Patiala was flooded in 1993, this lake played a crucial role in draining out the water,” he said.
“But, I am shocked to see how the MC has been playing havoc with it now. They have reduced the lake’s embankment by making a 20 feet pathway. The MC is also planning to open up food courts at the lake,” he said.
He said this kind of revival of the lake was non-acceptable. Being a property of heritage value, the MC should have taken due permission from the central authorities before launching the project, which sadly has not been done in this case.
He added that it was sad that successive governments did not make any effort to properly restore it and left it as it was.
“When it was de-listed a year ago, a rare 70-kg turtle was found in the water body, which took wildlife experts by surprise. It indicates the worth of this place which, unfortunately, has been left unattended for years, he rued.
“My advice to the MC is that if they are really interested in restoring it, then the peripheral area around the lake should be converted into a non-traffic zone with the facility of proper walkway rather than creating a walking path by shrinking its embankment as it is being done now,” he said. He added that the tank should be filled and boating should be revived so that city residents can get a recreational space for leisure and enjoyment.
Mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj said that the MC has no intention of destroying the lake. “I have spoken to Malvinder Singh. We will show him the work being carried out there on Friday and sort out the matter amicably,” he said. “This is a dream project for city residents and it will be revived,” he added.