Fazilka, October 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice today to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) and the Forest and Wildlife Department seeking their reply on the proposed PUDA colony being carved out in the Badha lake wetland area in Fazilka.
Social activist Navdeep Asija had filed a writ petition in the High Court against the upcoming PUDA colony on the plea that the proposed colony could disturb the ecology of the area.
Asija, who was present in the court, said that a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Rajiv Narayan Raina today issued notice to these departments for filing a separate reply. The next hearing is on November 22.
Today, the HC also verified the revenue record of the extinct Badha lake and its adjacent areas. As per the revenue record presented in the court, it was demonstrated that from 1977 to 1995, fish farming was done in the lake and the Badha village panchayat used to earn revenue from it.
During the argument on the affidavit filed by the PUDA stating that there are only a few eucalyptus trees and hence, there has been no axing of trees involved while carving out the colony, the court directed the Forest and Wildlife Department to verify the facts.
It is pertinent to mention here that Fazilka was established by the Britisher Patrick Vans Agnew in 1844 near the banks of the Badha lake. Inspired by the flora and fauna there, he decided to construct a bungalow near the lake.
Till the eighties, the lake was a source of drinking water.
According to sources, due to the activities of vested interests, the natural flow of the river Sutlej, which used to recharge the lake every year, was stopped later on.