HC bats for preservation of Umiam Lake, terms it ‘vital’

SHILLONG, Feb 15: The Meghalaya High Court has observed that the preservation of Umiam Lake is ‘vital’ as is the preservation of the delicate ecology surrounding the waters, including smaller seasonal waterbodies that form, and the flora and fauna thereat.
The Meghalaya High Court’s observation comes during hearing of the PIL in relation to the cleanliness of Umiam Lake on Tuesday.
The division bench of the High Court, in its order, stated that the state government has to chalk out a road map for the preservation of the larger waterbody and the smaller seasonal ones around the lake; and demarcate zones where construction can be permitted at a distance of 150 to 200 meters from the edge of the water at its highest level and subject to conditions pertaining to sewage not seeping into the Umiam waters.
The bench observed that at any rate, greater executive action is necessary than what is perceived to be in place at the moment.
“As much as the tourist footfall increases in the state, there is a need for sustaining the tourism industry without disturbing or distressing the environment or the ecology. Again, this needs extensive executive planning,” it said.
Pursuant to an oral direction issued earlier, Dr Manjunatha C, Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Forest and Environment Department, was present in person before the bench and was represented by Advocate General.
Several key aspects were pointed out to the official and the Advocate General, including the disturbing anomalies noted in the latest report filed by SP Mahanta, senior Advocate and Amicus Curiae appointed in the matter.
“Let the matter appear a week hence so that it gets the attention that it deserves from the State Government. List on February 23, 2022,” the order stated.

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