HC to hear petitions on drying up of Sukhna Lake daily

Matters on construction in catchment area also to be taken up
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Published on Jan 16, 2020 12:58 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByHT Correspondent, Chandigarh

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday said that multiple petitions on the issues of drying up of Sukhna lake and construction activity in catchment areas falling in Punjab would be heard on a day-to-day basis. The court was hearing a 2009 suo motu petition initiated on drying up of lake..

The high court bench of justice Rajiv Sharma and justice HS Sidhu posting matter for Thursday said the issues have been ongoing for ten years and it can’t be delayed further.

In December, the Punjab government had demanded a fresh survey of the Sukhna Lake’s catchment area. Under secretary, local government, Balbir Singh has told the high court that as per a 1963 notification, the area of revenue, Kansal village was never included in the catchment area of the lake.

2,998 acre land was acquired for soil conservation for the catchment area and an area of 491 acre was left out, which constitutes Kansal village now.

The demand comes in the wake of the Supreme Court scrapping the Tata Camelot project planned by Punjab in Sukhna catchment area. The UT administration has argued that construction in the catchment area falling under Punjab also needs to be regulated in view of ‘Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017’, notified by the Centre, being in the vicinity of the lake under wetland.

In December, the high court had observed that within a 10-km radius of the lake, various activities such as construction are to be regulated as per ‘Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

The Punjab government is arguing that wetland notification pertains to area falling under UT and areas under Punjab do not fall under it.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the court asked what the Centre for the status of the 73 crore proposal that the administration had asked for the de-silting of the lake.

It came to light that Centre had sought some clarifications from the UT administration on this proposal, which were not responded to. Now, seeking response from both the parties, the court would take up the matter again on Thursday.

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