Sukhna Lake, the pristine beauty of Chandigarh, continues to shrink despite a slew of initiatives taken by the Chandigarh Administration. Recently, it had made headlines in the newspapers when the Punjab and High Court was concerned over the issue. The Administration had also called for solutions from the public to save it.
Talking to Daily Post on telephone, world-renowned Geologist and Limca Book of World Records Dr Ritesh Arya said that it was a man-
made lake formed by blocking the streams coming from the Shivalik Hills and turn it into a spot of beauty. The need of the hour is to reviewed its natural
channels..Since its creation, it has attracted lovers of nature and beauty for years, but the silt, sitting in its bed over theyears, has left the water soiled. Dr Arya further revealed that in its natural course the silt would have been washed out downstream and the flow would have remained uninterrupted but because of the blockage of the streams, outlets for the silt have also been blocked and it continued to get silt deposited all these years.
He further said that since there was no natural passage for the silt downstream, the Lake suffered hugely. With more rains, the fragile Shivalik Hills were eroding faster causing erosion and leading to more silt into the Lake. “If this process continues, the cost to remove the silt would be very high and may lead to its closure one day,” he warned.
Silting in Sukhna was a geological problem as it involved weathering and erosion of the fragile upper Shivalik rocks. If the weathering and erosion processes along with the transportation of the sediments were properly understood, the Lake could be saved from silting, said Dr Arya. Any other effort would lead to increase in the volume of silt, he added.
Suggesting solutions, Dr Arya said that proper geological treatment of the catchments hills would be the best solution wherein the weathered slopes could be stabilised and the rain water from the slopes be diverted in the canals and moved away along with the silt, then the lake would get only silt-free water. Streams providing water to the Lake should also be declared protected area, says Dr Arya. Only natural silt should come and should go downstream naturally, he said.
On the other hand, an official of the Administration said that it had adopted a three-pronged strategy to save and promote fish culture in the Lake. The three-prong strategies are containing the overgrowth of weeds in the Lake, checking overpopulation of fish to avoid congestion and banning religious functions at the Lake which according to Dr Arya polluted the waters. Special weed-eating fish (Grass Carp) was introduced in the Lake to contain overgrowth of weeds. Grass Carp is herbivorous, freshwater fish species of the Cyprinidse family and cultivated in large number in China for food. But in Western countries it is introduced in aquatic weed control. Dr Arya said that half-hearted efforts could delay the decay of the Lake but would not stop its end.
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