The lake provokes a walkout | india | Hindustan Times
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The lake provokes a walkout

THE UPPER Lake made history the other day. The Opposition staged a walkout on the February 20 when its demand for constitution of a House committee to probe the question of inflow of sewage and other effluents into the Lake was not acceded to.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 12:47 IST

THE UPPER Lake made history the other day. The Opposition staged a walkout on the February 20 when its demand for constitution of a House committee to probe the question of inflow of sewage and other effluents into the Lake was not acceded to.

A Congress member had alleged during Question Hour that sewage from several areas and effluents from certain reputed hotels were finding their way into the lake, polluting its water. Not happy with the replies of the minister concerned, the Opposition pressed for constitution of a House committee. When this was not agreed to by the Speaker, who ordered a government probe, it staged the walkout.

The lake and its waters have suddenly caught the imagination of the Congress. This is the second time during the current year it has raised the question of pollution of the lake waters. Earlier it had held demonstrations at the Boat Club against introduction of the floating restaurant into the lake.

On the face of it, this concern of the party would seem to augur well for the lake. A little reflection would, however, reveal that this is apparently more of posturing than any genuine concern for the lake and the people who have to consume its waters.

It is, after all, the same party that after launching the Bhoj Wetland Project in the early 1990s for conservation of the Upper and Lower lakes, failed to fully implement it.

Although implemented right under its very nose in Bhopal, the project failed to achieve its core objective – that of making the Upper Lake pollution-free – despite a time over-run of more than four years.

All the peripheral works – from a 6-kilometre road to promenades and a controversial bridge – were completed but not the work of diversion of drains pouring sewage into the lake, which could largely free the lake of its pollutants. Worse, it was during its rule that the polluting diesel-driven boats were allowed to ply in the lake.

A case of pot calling the kettle you-know-what, one wonders whether the Opposition ran out of issues and found this one as a straw to

discomfit the government. Whatever the provocation – politics or otherwise – the point raised is valid regardless of what the minister concerned said. One does not know where he was conducted during his inspections and by whom; the facts are there for all to see.

One has only to stand on the bridge on the VIP Road facing Fatehgarh to notice drains cascading down into the lake. And, if one stuck one’s neck out and saw the waters below, one would be horrified to see the enormity of the filth and foamy slime floating around and knocking against the shores.

The minister, reportedly, said during the debate that the water supplied for drinking was being filtered and processed to remove all contamination. Perhaps, he is unaware of the reports that appeared a few weeks back of the filtration plants being aged and, consequently, inefficacious, their frequent breakdowns often forcing the Corporation to supply raw water.

One cannot, therefore, but be thankful to Eureka Forbes for marketing that remarkable water purifying contraption because of which most of us are still alive and kicking.

That the lake, despite the nine-year-long project and a Conservation Authority in place, continues to be highly polluted is stating the obvious. Instead of making an issue of it, the minister should have willingly offered to have the waters of the Lake and the (treated) water supplied to the people tested in the ‘well-equipped laboratory’ of the Lake Conservation Authority.

The results could then be tabled for information of the members and the people. The minister could even now act accordingly and include such a test in the probe to be conducted for remedial action if necessary.