NGT directs Delhi chief secretary to take measures to protect Bhalswa lake

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New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) Observing that the mandate of law is to maintain the water bodies in their pristine glory as they perform important ecological functions, the National Green Tribunal directed Delhi chief secretary to hold a meeting and take remedial measures to protect Bhalswa lake in north west Delhi against pollution and encroachment.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel ordered the chief secretary to call a meeting of representatives from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation to take cognizance of the problem and plan remedial measures in accordance with law.

The tribunal also asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to monitor water quality data of the lake periodically and place the same on its website.

The applicant may furnish a set of papers to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, CPCB, DPCC, DDA, DJB, Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and secretary to Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to facilitate compliance of the above order, the bench said.

'It is an undoubted mandate of law to maintain the water bodies in their pristine glory. Water bodies perform important ecological functions. Not only do they add to the aesthetics, they help in water conservation, sustaining aquatic life and maintaining micro climate. Clean environment being part of right to life and also being part of Directive Principles of State policy, the State authorities have the duty to protect the same,' the NGT said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by NGO Udankaar against failure of the public authorities in performing their obligation under public trust doctrine to protect an important water body in Delhi, known as Bhalswa lake, against pollution and encroachment.

The plea alleged that pollution is being discharged in the lake in the form of solid waste as well as sewage and the boundary wall around the lake has been demolished.

'This has resulted in deterioration and contamination of water. Ownership of the water body is vested in the DDA. It is to be maintained by the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation is to prevent dumping of waste. The DPCC and CPCB are to enforce the environmental norms,' the plea said.

Bhalswa is one of the largest water bodies in Delhi and is spread over an area of 150 acres.

The only source of water in the water body is rainfall and it acts as a recharge basin during rainy season.

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