Agartala: A Tripura High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhyay admonished the state’s forest department for their apparent lackadaisical attitude towards preservation of Rudra Sagar lake, a water body that has been identified as an Ramsar convention site.
The High Court was hearing a PIL taken on its own motion.
Advocate Indrajit Chakraborty, who has been appointed as the amicus curiae for the litigation, said the site selected by the state government for construction of a sluice gate is under question here.
“The site finalized by the state government may prove harmful to the water levels of the lake as per expert studies. The lake was once spread over 2,061 acres, which makes it unique and rare. Unfortunately, encroachments from different sides reduced the water levels of the wetlands and now it stands at somewhere close to 300 acres. The proposal of sluice gate arises out of the argument of protecting the water levels of the water body,” said Chakraborty.
But, he said, the site which has been primarily finalized by the state departments may act in contrast.
“If the sluice gate is constructed at the location where the state intends for, the results will be counterproductive. It will completely stop the fresh water from flowing inside the wetlands, which is against nature. My argument was that the sluice gate needs to be shifted from that site to somewhere else so that natural flow of water remains unhindered and the size of the water body expands to an extent of 1,300 acres,” said Chakraborty.
According to the senior advocate, the water resource department had submitted the hydraulic maps of the water body.
“The High Court has given a terse warning to the forest department for their careless attitude towards the lake. The Court said it is the duty of the Forest department to make efforts to conserve and protect the wetland but what they did is less than minimal,” he added.
However, all the departments such as PWD, Water Resource, Forest etc. have been asked to submit their final reports on the construction of the proposed sluice gate on August 29.
“According to the rules, the local fishermen community had been allowed to do fishing and carry out pisciculture activities in the lake. But, over the years, the wetland was exploited and a large swathe of its geographical area had been converted into paddy fields, which is a violation of the internationally recognized laws,” said Chakraborty.
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