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News: After Delhi, Hry may soon finalise plan for protecting Najafgarh lake-16-09-2021


Gurgaon: Haryana is finally inching towards finalising an environmental management plan for the Najafgarh lake. The state environment department will hold a meeting with the Haryana chief secretary on Thursday to discuss a draft of the plan.
The final plan will be presented to the chief minister on September 22.
“A meeting of the CM with the environment department has been scheduled, in which the plan will be discussed,” Gurgaon deputy commissioner Yash Garg told TOI. The details of the draft plan haven’t been released yet.

Earlier this year, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for protection of the water body. In June, NGT ordered the Haryana chief secretary to be present for the next hearing, scheduled on October 4, along with an update on the status of the protection plan.


When approached, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) secretary S Narayana confirmed, “The management plan for the lake is being finalised.”

Delhi has already submitted its environmental management plan for the lake to NGT in March. According to its plan, the lake will be notified under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017, which would give the two states (Delhi and Haryana) powers to keep a watch on prohibited activities such as encroachment of any kind, disposal of waste and discharge of untreated effluents in the water body.

Speaking about the importance of a plan to protect the lake, Manu Bhatnagar, INTACH principal director (natural heritage division), said: “We have already pointed out to the Haryana government that the Najafgarh jheel falls in a natural hazard zone, as it is located in a seismic area and also has high soil liquefaction (substantial loss of soil strength due to shaking). The two factors, if combined, would be catastrophic to lives and property. Also, this year, we have seen that the lake’s water levels reached 200 metres during the monsoon, which is another reason that the area can’t be used for any activities.”

He said the Delhi management plan can only work if Haryana also agrees to it. “Haryana hasn’t been able to approve the environment management plan yet, and thus the area isn’t getting any protection.”

The water body, which is spread across 7 square kilometres, is important for Gurgaon as it acts as a large aquifer for groundwater recharge. Many creeks in the Aravalis flow into the lake, which is further carried to the Yamuna.

“Najafgarh jheel is a critical natural infrastructure for the region, buffering floods, treating wastewater, recharging groundwater and providing habitat to numerous plant and animal species. The high ornithological value of the wetland is indicated by the presence of 281 bird species, including several threatened ones,” the Delhi management plan report states.

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