People march to revive Naini Lake

With the plan to revive Naini Lake stuck between the Delhi government and North Delhi Municipal Corporation, around 200 residents of Model Town on Friday got together and marched to save the dying water body.

Holding banners such as ‘Save Naini Lake’ and ‘We want lake revival’, the people urged the government to fulfill its promise of taking up its revival work.

Once a popular destination for people and home to various birds, and aquatic creatures, the lake’s condition, over the years, has been worsening and it is nearly ecological dead now. It has low oxygen level and is devoid of plant life because of which fish and other creatures are finding it difficult to survive, and dying.

“For instance due to concretisation, the amount of rainwater entering the lake has reduced, the water smells foul, mass fish deaths happen and lake is full of algae,” said Juhi Chaudhry, an environmentalist and a resident of Model Town.

A plan to restore the lake was submitted to the Tourism Department by renowned ecologist and professor-emeritus, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems Prof C R Babu in July.

However, it was put on the backburner as the MoU between the government and the North Corporation, which is the land-owning agency, is yet to be renewed. It got expired two years back.

Richa Chaudhary, a resident who has been campaigning to save the lake said, “We saw mass fish deaths first time in 2013. But since then, nothing has been done. Even today during the march, we saw some dead fish floating at one corner of the lake”.

Dr Faiyaz Khudsar, who is a field biologist and a waterbody expert, while addressing the gathering, said, “Reviving a lake doesn’t need much money. It needs intent and expertise. The day rainwater starts flowing into the lake, it will mark the beginning of the lake restoration”.

Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra had earlier visited the lake and promised to soon start work to restore it. However, according to government officials, there are yet to get any communication from the North Corporation.

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