The controversy follows the plans of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to sell 8 acres of land in the vicinity of Badha Lake to set up a new colony. Graduate Welfare Association of Fazilka (GWAF) has approached Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman A S Pannu, Ferozepur DC, Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab, National Green Tribunal and others for the purpose.
DC Yadav said: "Concrete construction has come up all along the Badha Lake and now, it doesn't exist in reality. Mining is being done in this part of the lake and there are no plans to revive the area. Earlier, Sutlej used to flow very near to Fazilka and therefore, this lake emerged. But now Sutlej is flowing 15 km away from Fazilka. All these years, no NGO had come up to do anything for the lake and now, undue objections are being raised."
The land in question is next to the old British bunglow, which is now the SDM's residence. Earlier, the SDM used cultivate the area, but to earn some revenue, PUDA has decided to do auction this land in the form of an approved colony. The last date of submitting applications is August 16. The construction of the colony will also lead to the felling of hundreds of trees, which are more than 100 years old.
Navdeep Asija, General Secretary of GWAF, said: "Apart from the violation, half of the colony planned falls under the flood plain and discharge basin of river Satluj. Planning residential colony in this flood plain where the plinth level of proposed houses is 1-2 m below the existing high flood level of this area, is not only a violation of building bylaws but also of special recommendations by the Centre's Disaster Management Group."
According to GWAF, the tehsil was established by Britsh Patric Van Agnew in 1844 on the banks of this horse shoe lake. Till late 1980s, Fazilka's eco-system was perfectly balanced by three wetlands — Badha, Jhangar, and Ganj Bakhash. According to the report of the Punjab Science and Technology Council, these three were among the 32 old natural wetlands in the state, which are now almost on the verge of disappearance mainly due to unplanned development that have transformed these sites into dry farmlands.