Monday, July 25, 2011

NGO to take legal route to save lake

FAZILKA: The controversy over raising a colony on 8 acres of land in the vicinity of theBadha Lake continues to simmer. While the district administration and Punjab Urban Development Authority (Puda) is firm about using the area to develop a colony on the banks of the dry lake to earn revenue, an NGO,Graduates Welfare Association of Fazilka (GWAF), has decided to move the high court against 
this plan. 

Residents of this border town are up in arms against the PUDA colony, which is planned in the vicinity of the Badha Lake. 

In order to save the lake, GWAF has approached the ministry of forests and environment, Punjab Pollution Control Board and the local administration, appealing their intervention to direct Puda and the local municipal council to drop the proposal of planning a residential colony in the eco-sensitive area of Badha Lake. 

While dashing all hopes of residents and NGOs of the area, who were trying hard to revive the lake, deputy commissioner, Ferozepur, Kamal Kishor Yadav claimed that there are no notified wetlands in Fazilka, while adding that the Badha lake does not exist anymore. 

A notification, issued in 1923, defining the urban limits of Fazilka had earmarked the entire area of Badha Lake and its banks to be a part of the eco-sensitive zone. 

Navdeep Asija, general secretary, GWAF, said in reply to their representation to the DC urging that the colony not be built the DC said that the lake does not exist any more. Now the association has decided to move the court in order to save Badha Lake, he said. 

"The logic that the lake has dried up over the years and cannot be revived and instead concrete construction should be allowed on its banks is hard to understand. We had submitted a detailed plan with the district administration and the state government regarding revival of the lake in which water can be pumped into it from the river in Badha village," he added. 

"The revival of the lake will help us preserve our heritage and we can contribute for the cause of environment as well," he said. The GWAF plan could get some unlikely support from a Punjab State Science and Technology report, which states that the lake must be revived. However, the deputy commissioner has categorically stated that as of now, no revival plans are on the anvil.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman AS Pannu said that a team would conduct a study on the lake to ensure that no environmental norms are violated while building the proposed colony.

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