Surgical work cannot save Sukhna, says HC panel
It is learnt the scientists from the central ministries and also the officials of Punjab and Haryana were of the view that de-silting should be started immediately and silt be pushed towards the banks to make a band. But UT’s officials were against the de-silting work due to the wetness as of now.punjab Updated: May 28, 2017 09:02 IST
Members of the committee appointed by the high court on ways to save the Sukhna Lake from drying up have expressed displeasure with efforts made by the UT administration so far.
The committee has officials from Punjab and Haryana, too, besides scientists from ministries of water resources and forest.
Their meeting on Saturday at the UT guest house was presided over by the UT’s secretary, engineering and home, Anurag Aggarwal; and they also undertook a visit to the lake.
It is learnt the scientists from the central ministries and also the officials of Punjab and Haryana were of the view that de-silting should be started immediately and silt be pushed towards the banks to make a band. But UT’s officials were against the de-silting work due to the wetness as of now.
The UT administration also proposed that it would approach Punjab and Haryana for manpower and machinery to clear the weeds and silt. However, Punjab sought to know as to who would bear the expenses.
The issue of getting 2 MGD (million gallons daily) water from the Bhakra canal was also discussed in which UT proposes to divert water to the lake between November and February as potable water demand goes down at the time. However, a final decision was not taken.
- If 2MGD water is pumped into lake for four months, the water level will go up to 1154 feet, which is currently at around 1152 feet.
- Officials say with two feet water, lake will not dry up during winter. 2 MGD of water can cater to 1 lakh people (20,000 households per month).
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As part of long-term measure, scientists suggested that “surgical work” would not be of any use till the time seepage points are not identified and measures taken to stop the seepage. “It is the UT that has to initiate the proposals and seek help from different agencies. Till the time they do not initiate anything, others can’t step in. But they appear reluctant,” an official present at the meeting said.
The panel met after directions from Punjab and Haryana high court earlier this week during the hearing of a suo motu petition initiated on rising level of pollution in the lake in 2009.
The water level at the lake has gone down drastically and the officials fear that the lake may dry up by June 30, if there are no rains. During winter, arrangements were made to supply drinking water into the lake but they did not have much desired results.
A report on the outcome of meeting would be put before the court on June 1.
BRAR, ANAND IN VERBAL DUEL
Sources said members found only two boats clearing the weeds and silt at the lake during the visit. BPS Brar, chief engineer, canal, Punjab, who attended the meeting on behalf of the state, told reporters that Punjab is ready to extend help: “Manpower, machinery, whatever is required, will be provided for saving the lake.”
Sources said Brar also had a verbal spat with UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand during the visit.
Brar is learnt to have commented that by putting only two boats on the job, the lake could not been cleared of weeds and silt. However, his comments did not go down well with Anand, who retorted saying that UT does not need help from others. At this, Brar shot back saying, “If the UT does not need help, why were we called for a meeting?”