Kolkata: Agency puts up barricade, secures Lake breach points – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) on Tuesday started work on reinforcing the perimeter wall around Rabindra Sarobar to implement the NGT order.
“If Supreme Court does not stay or overturn the NGT order on Thursday, there won’t be any time to secure the Lake. Work has, therefore, begun to set up barricades around the possible breach points so that the Lake can be shut down from noon on November 19 till noon on November 21,” a KMDA official said.
The Chhath rituals are to take place on the evening of November 20 and the morning of November 21.
Environmental activists have their fingers crossed on the development as they had witnessed a similar exercise last year that had gone in vain with devotees barging into the Lake premises. This year, KMDA has made provisions for Chhath devotees at 44 ghats as an alternative to Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar. A high court order has imposed a ban on Chhath at the latter.
“Like last year, there will be buses near Rabindra Sarobar in addition to Subhas Sarobar to ferry devotees to alternative ghats and ferry them back to their respectives places. As of now, we are taking every measure to comply with the NGT order. But KMDA alone cannot implement the order. There are various other agencies, including police, that are responsible for enforcing the order,” another KMDA official said.
The perimeter reinforcement work began at the southern flank of the Lake where sections of the wall had collapsed during cyclone Amphan. In addition, the private security agency hired to patrol the Lake has been asked to remain extra vigilant in the run-up to Chhath and most crucially on November 20 and 21.
Lake lovers and environmental activists said they would keep a close watch on the developments following last year’s bitter experience when despite what appeared to be foolproof arrangements to implement the order, it turned out otherwise on Chhath day.
“We have appealed to Chhath devotees to maintain the sanctity of the NGT order. Please spare Rabindra Sarobar, which has seen the return of painted storks after five long years. If Chhath takes place, they will be gone forever. KMDA has offered so many alternative sites where rituals can be performed without disturbing the birds,” said Sumita Banerjee, an activist who has been doggedly pushing for the conservation of Rabindra Sarobar for over a decade.
Somendra Mohan Ghosh, an environmental activist and morning walker at Rabindra Sarobar, felt that should the Supreme Court not alter the NGT order, KMDA and police will be under pressure to enforce the ban as the high court has also endorsed it.
“We will not stop fighting for the safety of the eco-sensitive zone, south Kolkata’s last surviving lung. Any threat to this place will adversely hit a large population of the city. We will report every violation to the court,” he said.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/agency-puts-up-barricade-secures-lake-breach-points/articleshow/79269892.cms