Review the Decision and Save the Lakes - Udaipur is an example for the country

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We (Citizens, Concerned and Jheel Sanrakshan Samiti of Udaipur), humbly submit to yourself to review the (A)  decision of  the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India , passed on 27th  March, 2017 to permit the  hotel for getting access , through the Road. The honorable court has admitted the fact that the said hotel construction is going on island located in the middle of the lake; and hence ordered for movement facility through land; and (B) decision of  the honorable court passed in October 2014 while admitting the (misleading fact) submitted by the Hotel and Government of Rajasthan that since the island is situated on bank of the lake , outside the lake .

At the outset, we would like to furnish the details of Udai Sagar Lake. The Lake Udai Sagar,an integral part of the lake-system of Udaipur, is situated near Bichari (at latitude 24034’ 41" N and longitude  73049’ 31" E) , about 10 kms from the Udaipur Airport. This lake, built in 1559 A.D., is named after Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of the city of Udaipur.  Udai Sagar is the last lake in the chain of Udaipur lake-system. The major part of its water is supplied for irrigation, and also for the industrial needs of private sector company M/s Hindustan Zinc Limited, a unit of the Vedanta group.

Udai Sagar was constructed by building a masonry dam on the river Berach, in the drainage basin of river Ganga.  Its gross capacity is 31.15 mcm, with “dead” and “live” storage of 3.54 mcm and 27.61 mcm respectively.  The length and breadth of the lake are 4.2kms. and2.75 kms respectively. The maximum depth of Udai Sagar is 6.1 mtrs at the dam-site. The catchment area is spread over the western side of the lake; and its gross catchment covers 479.19 sq. kms. Which also include the catchment of other lakes in the chain of lake-system of Udaipur.  The free catchment area of Udai Sagar alone is 196.84 sq. kms. The bottom is silty, because of continuous sedimentation during the last about 400 years.  The main source of water for Udai Sagar is a tributary of the river Berach, popularly called Ahar, which passes through the city of Udaipur and joins Udai Sagar near Sukha Naka.  Also, several small seasonal rivers, and streams flowing down from the surrounding hills, also enter the lake. 

Besides, the total area of the only island (under dispute), in Udai Sagar, is also a vital water-generating area for this lake, where rain-water flows freely from all sides of the island, into the lake.

Coming to the matter of permission for construction of a hotel on this island in Udaisagar lake, the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan, Jodhpur, in its judgment dated 27 Sept 2012, had ordered M/s Verdha Enterprises Ltd., Mumbai not only to remove all its construction from the island situated in lake Udai Sagar, but also to restore the island to its original form and status. Moreover, the Hon’ble High Court had also ordered M/s Verdha Enterprises Ltd., Mumbai to deposit a penalty of Rs. One Crore with the government, for removal of the illegal and unauthorized road it had built within the lake to provide access to the hotel on the island, from the lake-shore. The Hotelier Company approached the honorable Supreme Court against this order.

The honorable Supreme Court admitted the (misleading fact) submitted by the Hotel and Government of Rajasthan that since the island is situated on bank of the lake , outside the lake , the construction cannot be banned. And hence the Court allowed the construction in October 2014. It is astonishing that the same Court has ordered recently , in March 2017, while agreeing that since the said hotel construction is going on island located in the middle of the lake; it must get the  movement facility through land when water level recedes so as not to support boat movement.

Therefore, as a consequence of the two contrary facts agreed by the same Court , , we earnestly feel to request your goodself to Review these decisions .

The FIVE  main reasons for this review request are as follows : -

1)           The permission for construction of a hotel on this island in lake Udai Sagar was given vide letter no. B-Plan/UIT/2009/3330 dated 31 December 2009 issued by the Deputy Town planner, Urban Improvement Trust, Udaipur. It is our submission that NO permission (for construction of any hotel on this island) could ever have been given by any government agency of Rajasthan because of the rules that existed then, and also because ofthe various existing rulings by courts, then.

Despite this,if any permission was given for construction of a hotel on this island, it MUST have been given either to appease some powerful persons or for “some other considerations”.

2)           The fact that the entire aforesaid island is an integral part of lake Udai Sagar, was also distorted, and presented before the Hon’ble Supreme Court with a jugglery of words. The Hon’ble Supreme Court was led to believe, that the construction of the hotel was being carried outside the lake-boundary.

3)           It is also our submission that the  earlier decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court was  based on the numerous blatant distortions, or misrepresentations of the actual facts about this island in Udai Sagar. It is also our submission that if the actual facts (that island is located in the middle of lake , as said in the narration of the order of March 2017) about this island in Udai Sagar were presented before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, its decision would have been quite different.

              In continuation, we also wish to submit that the aforesaid distortions and misrepresentations of actual facts about the island in question, were presented before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, by the government officials, a) either under duress from their superiors, b) or in lieu of “other considerations”, or  c) to protect their fellow-officers who had given the earlier illegal permission for construction, of the aforesaid hotel.

4)           It was also projected mischievously before the Hon’ble Supreme Court that lake Udai Sagar was not covered by those orders of the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan, Jodhpur which restrict or prohibit construction-activity in or around the lake-system of Udaipur.

5)           Surprisingly, now to get the facility Road on lake bed,  the fact (which is real and actual)  submitted is that the hotel is situated in the middle of the lake.

 As mentioned earlier, the conversion of the land-use of island within lake Udai Sagar, under Sec 90-B of Land Revenue Act of Rajasthan, was completely illegal; and if the conversion itself was illegal, no permission for construction of a hotel, could have been granted. It is our submission that the remaining portion on top of the island, over and above the submerged area, is FULLY the water-flow area of lake Udai Sagar; and hence the remaining top-portion of the island is also an integral part of the entire island in question. According to the existing rules and court-decisions, no construction can be permitted on “water-flow” or “submerged” areas of a water-body.It is our submission that lake Udai Sagar is very much a part of the lake-system of Udaipur. Two-lakes within the city-limits of Udaipur (namely Fateh Sagar and Pichola) were included in the National lake Conservation Plan of Ministry of Environment and Forests, in the year 1995.

 As per  the narration of  Order of the Honorable Supreme Court, passed in March 2017, the hotel construction is declared as property in the middle of the lake. It is our submission that if as per the narration of the order of October, 2014 , the hotel is on the bank, outside the lake submergence, how it could the same hotel be declared as situated in the middle of the lake in the order of March 2017.

               The two decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (based on distortions or misrepresentations of facts, even in their affidavits, by some government officers), will pave the way for rampant, detrimental, illegal construction-activity on islands ; and lake beds within all  lakes / water-bodies of India.

Any island within a lake is a very important niche for its ecological sustenance. This Review-Petition also seeks to point out that the entire aforesaid island was the ONLY island in Lake Udai Sagar; and hence it was very significant for conservation of the lake-ecosystem. This island was the only space available to the local and migratory birds, amphibians, reptiles, etc for their shelter and breeding. Today, because of the illegal construction of the hotel, the aforesaid ecosystem has been almost destroyed.

 Any island within a lake is also its catchment-area. The rain-water falling on the un-submerged, top-part of the island invariably finds its way into the lake from all sides of the island. It is this aspect that ensures the hydrological, limnological and ecological importance of any island-----and any attempt to tamper with this natural system will prove to be a major disaster for that lake and mankind.

 Thanking You sir,

Jai Hind!

Citizens, Concerned and Jheel Sanrakshan Samiti of Udaipur



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