Saturday , July 31 2021

Green activists oppose Udaipur Municipal Corporation’s move on cruise tourism in Lake Pichhola

Udaipur : The Udaipur Municipal Corporation’s move to launch double decker cruise at Lake Pichhola is being severely opposed by the civil society as well as green activists here. Lake Pichhola being one of the prime drinking water source for the residents, activists swung to action when they saw a private company launching the vessel in the lake on Sunday.

Pichhola is an important birding area too and cruise tourism would greatly disturb the aqua-avian life here besides deteriorating quality of drinking water for the locals, environmentalists claimed. Before launching the cruise in water, neither its fitness certificate or license to run was sought from the transport department and hence on getting information,the DTO team went to  the spot on Tuesday and penalized the company for flouting norms.

Experts also said that before commencing cruise services permission from several departments including district administration, irrigation, water supply, pollution control board, forest, fisheries and lake development authority has to be taken but the UMC or the private firm which has the tender for cruise tourism hasnt sought any NOC from these departments. 

The UMC had in 2016 invited tender for cruise services at Lake Pichhola and in June 2018 granted contract to a private firm Ms MM Enterprises to conduct 150 seater double decker cruise services. In February this year,the UMC permitted the contractor to commence cruise service from March 15 onward after seeking necessary permissions from concerned departments. However, the contractor without taking permissions floated the large vessel in the water on the pretext of giving it the ‘final touching’.

“In December last year, the Lake development committee headed by collector Chetan Deora had decided that not even the diesel run motorized boats would be permitted to ferry in water bodies since they are homes to fishes, birds and aqua animals. In such a situation, its highly irresponsible on  the part of the UMC to permit cruise tourism in Picchola, we strongly object the move” Tej Shankar Paliwal, a lake activist said.

Picchola lake has a water holding capacity of 11 feet which is full only during the monsoon months. Since water is lifted for supply to homes, the average water level remains around 6 to 7 feet. Experts also claim that cruise can move easily in a depth of 10-11 feet water but if the level goes down, the vessel will sink in the mud portion which would cause great disturbances. Collector Chetan Deora said details from concerned departments would be sought and it would be ensured that rules are not violated . 

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