HT Readers’ Take: We would rather be safe than visit Sukhna Lake on weekends
“Sometimes, the most productive thing that you can do is to step outside and do nothing... relax and enjoy nature.” This is a magnificent quote by Melanie Charlene, an author whose appreciation for the simple beautiful things are authentically expressed through her words. However, by closing the Sukhna during weekends is just a step to save us from the pandemic. Our responsibility at this time is to agree with the government and take all precautionary measures as it’s only for our good. Anybody badly missing greenery should start planting trees and saplings in any space near their homes and enjoy nature’s bounty.
It’s time for implementing smart ideas at the Sukhna lake. Temperature checks should be conducted and social distancing and other SOPs should be put in place. Rapid testing for the virus can also be done outside the lake. Number of visitors can be regulated by issuing digital tokens to visitors. Lists of precautionary measures against Covid-19 can be displayed at the lake and sanitisers also made available.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Sukhna Lake should not be only closed for weekends, but it should be closed permanently along with other tourist places, till the pandemic situation normalises, as leisure and pleasure can only be enjoyed when we are healthy and wealthy and free from any fear of contracting the infection. Though there is no evidence of anyone getting infected while visiting, but even a single case if positive can have serious repercussions on the visitors and infect a large number of people. Thus the old saying: “Prevention is better than cure,” has to be followed by the UT administration.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
The administration is concerned about people’s safety and that is why it has taken the decision to close the lake on weekends. If people need fresh air they can do yoga in their balconies and terraces or go to the parks around the city which do not attract as many people as the lake does. It is now our responsibility to keep ourselves and our families fit by not going out of our homes.
Closing the lake area for 48 hours on the weekends is a good way to have no human footprint in the area for some time and prevent the infection from multiplying, but it isn’t the best approach. People are fed up of being confined at home during the lockdown and want to do anything to exercise. Therefore, the Chandigarh administration should limit lake timings, monitor the number of people in the premises by keeping a count and expect the public to cooperate in return. Temperature checks aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem. A proper head count should be taken, minimum number of people should be allowed and issuing of tokens should start. Maintaining the code of normalcy along with protective measures is a challenge for the administration for sure, but that’s the new normal, isn’t it?
Madhav Bansal, Chandigarh
The decision to keep the lake area closed is unlikely to serve any useful purpose since shopping malls, multiplexes, city parks, gardens and other public hotspots are open to the public. In this hour of global distress, the Sukhna offers some breathing space for those who are currently confined at home. The decision would amount to depriving people of their right to enjoy some time in Sukhna’s scenic surroundings. The administration should roll back its decision.
Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh
Of course it cannot be denied that people need some space for exercise, but at the same time it has to be understood that allowing crowds to gather at the lake would mean increased risk levels. I myself have seen people walking and sitting by the lake without masks and it is for the welfare of the whole tricity that the administration has taken this step. I totally second this decision and will optimistically wait for everything to get back to normal and then enjoy my weekends at my favourite Sukhna lake.
Banning walking in the Sukhna region is in violation of the Fit India movement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The area around Sukhna should be beautified with more facilities added to make it more attractive. Water reservoirs should be built to make boating and rowing possible throughout the year. Walkers should be allowed here during the day or night without any restrictions. A morning walk as per doctors is like medicine because the body gets extra oxygen which boosts immunity. Corona can be controlled if morning walk is encouraged and not restricted.
Col SK Aggarwal (retd), Panchkula
These are difficult times;we may have to adjust with the virus for a long period of time. However, the joy of watching the calm waters of the lake and enjoying the happiness of the people out boating must not be denied by the administration. It can take measures to regulate the crowds by issuing tokens, ensuring strict checks for masks and gloves and making sanitisers available at the spot.
Usha Verma, Chandigarh
Not allowing crowds at the Lake is not a bad step and will definitely stop the transmission of Covid-19. The administration can also charge a nominal entry fee at the Sukjna and another public places. This money can be used for emergency services and to sanitise those areas .
Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh
Closing down the Sukhna Lake area to public on weekends due to the corona scare is akin to shutting down factories and vehicular traffic to reduce accidents. Nonetheless, people get what they deserve and self-regulation is the best regulation. But when people violate safety rules and don’t wear masks or observe hygiene or sanitisation, forced curbs and compliance are inevitable though this reflects poorly on regulators. Unlockdowns aim at public ease, activity and liberty but the corona-threat persists unabated. The public does not have to be totally deprived of fresh air or the scenic environs of Sukhna, but preventions and precautions should be strictly enforced. While playing light music, intermittent reminders on public address system should be aired to make visitors alert to the dangers of the virus.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
The lake area should remain open on all seven days of the week with some riders and conditions. Tokens for visits should be generated online with slot booking. A nominal fee covering the cost of mask and sanitiser may be taken while booking the slot, which can be provided to visitors at entry points of the lake. This will prevent overcrowding which will further contribute to stemming the daily rise in coronavirus cases. Security marshals should be deputed in the area to watch and advise the visitors on safety measures.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh
In my opinion, we all are part of the administration as good citizens but many people are not following the rules to stop the spread of coronavirus. We are not maintaining social distance or even bothering to wear our masks properly. Observing safety will help us recover quickly from the Covid situation.
For a healthier mind
Amid the pandemic when the masses have spent such a long time period locked at home because of which their mental health could have been affected, the administration should keep Sukhna Lake open to rejuvenate their minds. The entry and exit points of the lake should have kiosks where people should be checked for Covid symptoms.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
No one is safe
Let’s get this straight: When a doctor covered entirely from head to toe in PPE can contract the virus, no one is safe. A vaccine/herd immunity is the only solution going forward and closing the iconic lake is not the solution. Outdoor spaces are great for relaxation and peace of mind in these trying times and so the administration must reconsider and re-evaluate its decision.
Avik Seth, Zirakpur
No one without masks, sanitisers should be allowed
Some rules should be in place if people are to be allowed at Sukhna lake
1. People wearing masks, having sanitizers, free of cough, cold and with normal temperature should be allowed to enter.
2. Boating should not be allowed for some more time.
3. Identity proof at gates is a must so immediate action can be taken if any person shows symptoms of infection.
4. Temperatures should be checked at entry level
Prabhjot Nagpal, Zirakpur
Why bother now?
Maximum relaxation in/during the lockdown has been allowed. Markets have/ had been reopened under the influence of powerful leaders when the coronavirus was peaking. Many people are refusing to follow safety measure like wearing masks, gloves or sanitizing hands. So closing Sukhna on weekends does not make sense. The administration should take strict and strong action/ steps against those who do not follow the guidelines. T. Everyone is equal before law. People must wear face-masks, gloves and maintain social distance. The administration should arrange for a proper health checkup when the citizens go for walks at the Sukhna.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali
Not a good move for senior citizens
One visits Sukhna Lake to get fresh air while walking and enjoying the views of the Shivaliks, which is good for one’s physical and mental health, especially senior citizens. Denying them this facility on weekends will force them to stay at home, which could lead to all sorts of health problems. However, visitors should be advised to strictly wear masks, maintain social distancing and sanitise their hands before entering the lake area
Col TBS Bedi(Retd), Mohali
Plants and animals need a weekend off too
Will the heavens fall if Sukhna is closed on weekends? Only very few people living close by in nearby VIP sectors visit Sukhna Lake, can’t they cope with the weekend closure? When people go to Sukhna for walk they take their pets with them, can’t they go to parks instead? We have seen people care two hoots for Covid precautions such as masks and social distancing . Besides, excessive activities in and around Sukhna Lake has affected its flora and fauna and aquatic life. These silent creatures also require a break from humans to sustain life. Corona or no corona, Sukhna Lake should also have weekends off – like human beings do.
Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd).
Govt needs to step up confidence building measures
A weekend lockdown serves no purpose. It has to be clearly understood that unless we isolate an infected person for a continuous period of 14 days they will continue to infect others. That is the nature of the Covid-19 virus. The fight against it cannot be won based on perceptions. Hard decisions need to be taken. Lockdowns, anyhow, serve only a limited purpose. The government needs to step-up confidence building measures and ensure that the public does not live under a shadow of fear. Keeping the lake open while observing safety measures is a way out.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur