The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board, DM-Nainital as well as Secretary-Urban Development to submit a factual and action taken report on the deteriorating situation of the water body (Naini Lake) and the town on concerns such as landslides, water scarcity and breach of carrying capacity. These authorities will need to submit the report within 2 months of the order. The issue was raised by the petitioners – NGO Friends and noted green activist Sushil Raghav through their counsel Akash Vashishtha and argued by Senior Advocate, Rajiv Dutta.

Several citizens of Nainital had been raising their voice against rampant construction in the lake city of Nainital that has threatened the fragile ecology of this place that is a major tourist attraction. The NGT in its order said that “grievance in this application is against alleged illegal construction in the catchment area of Naini Lake, Nainital in violation of order of the Supreme Court in Dr. Ajaya Singh Rawat v. Union of India & Ors. According to the applicant, such constructions result in landslides, reduce the capacity of the lake and increase soil erosion. Constructions are beyond the carrying capacity of the Nainital Town. As a result of construction, water level of the lake has gone down and recharge of ground water is also affected.”

General Secretary, Friends, Sharad Tiwari pointed out, “Since recharge zones of the Naini Lake, especially Sukhatal, which is the major recharge zone, have been encroached due to  rampant illegal construction activities in Nainital town, during the past three decades, this is posing a grave threat to the existence of the popular hill station and its ancient and magnificent lake.”  

Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in

(e-mail: editordelhincrnews@gmail.com)

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