Walkout over pollution in Upper Lake
THE OPPOSITION staged a walkout from the State Assembly today after its demand to constitute a house committee to probe into the matter regarding dumping of sewage into the Upper Lake, a major drinking water source for Bhopal, was rejected.india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 15:07 IST
THE OPPOSITION staged a walkout from the State Assembly today after its demand to constitute a house committee to probe into the matter regarding dumping of sewage into the Upper Lake, a major drinking water source for Bhopal, was rejected.
Opposition members registered a strong protest when Speaker Ishwardas Rohani rejected the demand made by Congress member Arif Aqueel during the question hour. Aqueel alleged that sewage and the effluents were being dumped into the lake.
Replying to the query, Urban Administration Minister Jayant Malaiyya refuted the allegations and claimed that the Lake Conservation Authority had closed down 14 nullahs, which had been dumping sewage into the lake. He said the water supplied for drinking purposes was filtered and processed to remove any possible contamination.
Rohani, however, asked the Government to probe into the matter and submit a report on it at the earliest. Dissatisfied with the move, opposition members from Congress, CPM and BSP walked out in protest.
Although the uproar on the issue lasted barely 10-15 minutes in the House, it has left several questions unanswered. The first obvious question is: Is the Upper Lake indeed free from pollution as claimed by the minister? Jayant Malaiyya had inspected several points along the lake only a day ago along with a team of BMC, PHE and other officials.
Arif Aqueel says the officers misled the minister and did not give him correct picture of the enormity of pollution. The Congress MLA was so infuriated by the reply that he offered to resign from the Assembly if his allegations were proved wrong.
The Speaker sought to resolve the issue by asking the minister if he had anything to say about the allegations. The minister stood to his ground. “ I have visited the pumping stations and other points along the lake and found that all the sewage canals have been plugged,” he maintained.
The answer provoked leader of opposition Jamuna Devi. She asked why the minister was not addressing Arif Aqueel’s specific queries. CPM’s Ram Lakhan Sharma also joined the issue. But the Speaker rejected their demand of setting up a house committee, leading to walk out.
Effluents continue to flow into Lake
CONVENER OF local NGO Sadprayas and former member of advisory committee on Bhoj Wetland Abdul Jabbar said that effluents from 27 nullahs continue to flow into the Upper Lake. He said that during execution of Bhoj Wetland project, the nullahs were indeed diverted and three treatment plants and pumping stations were created near Central Jail, Singarcholi and Sinhpur in Bhadbhada.
But water from these nullahs continue to flow into Upper Lake since none of the three treatment plant & pumping stations are functional, he said. This, because budgetary allocation and staff for the plants are not available, he said. Besides, there are many ‘untrapped’ nullahs flowing into Upper Lake, he added.
“Nullahs might have been diverted but when their water is not being pumped into treatment plant, it continues to pollute the Upper Lake as before”, he said.
‘Cruise running with due permission’
Replying to another question raised by Ajay Singh of Congress, the minister replied that the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) Council had given necessary permission to the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) to operate the cruise boat.
The permission was granted on December 31, 2005. The minister also said that all the conditions had been followed in granting the permission and the BMC had not received any complaint in this connection.