HC orders, Catchment Area, ESZ, Buffer Zone; all rules ignored just to flatter UT AdministratorHC orders, Catchment Area, ESZ, Buffer Zone; all rules ignored just to flatter UT Administrator
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Construction started at Nagar Van, Sukhna Lake, which falls under its Catchment Area


In an earlier judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had put a blanket ban on any construction activity in the area that falls under the Catchment Area of Sukhna Lake. Yet, by taking the liberty of COVID-19, the Administration has started construction at the site. Why? To fulfill the dream of Governor VPS Badnore, who once wished to have a ‘Bird Park’ and ‘Veterinary Hospital’ in Nagar Van located behind the lake. Notable, both sites fall under the Catchment Area. Call it flattery or anything else; the administration has superseded the rules of Eco-Sensitive Zone, Catchment Area, Buffer Zone, all at one go, just to please His Excellency!

Construction on peak at Nagar Van city forest near Sukhna Lake Chandigarh

This ‘dream project’ that was supposed to have a Bird Park and Veterinary Hospital in Nagar Van was proposed by UT Forest and Wildlife department to house exotic bird species. Interestingly, there was once a deer park inside Governor’s house, that was closed years back and the animals were left in Mohindra Chaudhary Zoological Park, famously known as Chhattbir Zoo.

Now, the GOI has granted Rs 2 crore for developing Nagar Van City Forest and the Administration has destroyed plantation worth lakhs of rupees just to please their super boss, without any accountability.

When UT Home Secretary Arun Gupta was questioned, he skirted the issue and said, “I have no idea of any construction happening there in violation of High Court Judgment”.

Meanwhile, the judgment clearly mentioned that “new construction is completely banned in the catchment area”. Nagar Van falls under zone 1, according to the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) notification issued by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change in 2017. The ESZ of Sukhna Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was issued for the area under the territory of Chandigarh. The administration has already notified leaving the 2-2.75 km area around the sanctuary as ESZ. As per zone 1 of ESZ, “No new construction of any kind will be permitted within 0.5km (zone-I) from the boundary of the sanctuary.”

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By Taruni Gandhi

Taruni Gandhi is an ace writer and journalist with over a decade experience in covering health, social issues. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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