SUBJECT :Climate change 

 Now, you have a say in the “Save Sukhna” case. In a significant move, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that suggestions on saving the lake could flow from residents.

The development is significant as the High Court had, way back in 2009, taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written to the Chief Justice by a local resident on the deteriorating condition of the lake and the apathy of the Administration towards its maintenance. 

The High Court had treated it as a petition in public interest and appointed advocate Tanu Bedi to assist the court. Besides the Chandigarh Administration, the High Court made Punjab and Haryana a party to the case. 

Since then, a lot of water has flown. Besides other things, the flow of waste water from houses in villages around the lake has been blocked. The latest in the case is liberty to residents to send their suggestions on what more can be done. 

As the case came up for resumed hearing this morning, a Division Bench of the High Court asserted that the suggestions coming from residents could be forwarded to senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin and the amicus curiae or the friend of the court, Tanu Bedi. 

For making it easier for residents to forward their suggestions, the Bench has included Tanu Bedi’s email ID in its order. The states have been asked to give wide publicity to the orders.

Before parting with the case, the Bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Ramendra Jain directed Haryana to make arrangements for preventing the entry of litter and sewage from Saketri into the Sukhna choe. Bedi had earlier brought the flow of filth to the notice of the Bench.   

This is not the first out-of-the-ordinary order passed by the Bench in the case in the recent past. Just three days ago, Justice Mittal and Justice Jain had visited Sukhna Lake to get first-hand information. 

 The purpose behind the visit was to inspect the area, among other things, for dipping water levels, sanitation concerns and de-weeding. For nearly four hours, Justice Mittal and Justice Jain visited the catchments area of the lake. They started the visit from the road in front of the Secretariat, proceeded towards the Kansal village side, the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, inspected the check dams and went to the Kaimbwala side before eventually reaching the regulatory end. 

The Judges also discussed the issue of filth flowing in from the Saketri side before issuing necessary directions. On the way, the Judges also interacted with residents. They were asked to approach the High Court on the next date of hearing in case of any difficulty.

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh