Friday, May 21, 2010

PWD Renovating Neela Hauz

Neela Hauz, the centuries-old water body at Aruna Asif Ali Marg near Vasant Kunj that was filled up to construct a flyover, may still have some hope for survival.

With the flyover near completion, PWD has started digging out earth used to fill up the water body from a section of the lake. Officials are hoping that within a month after the project is completed in June they would be able to hand over the lake to DDA, which will develop it into a biodiversity zone.

‘‘In the past few weeks, we have dug out about 36,000 cubic meters of earth from under the stretch of flyover that has been completed. The more we dig, the more groundwater comes to the surface. Before work started, we had taken measurements to know the exact depth of the water body. We will dig out mud accordingly,’’ said a senior official.

The flyover work had bi-furcated the lake into two parts one which is currently covered with water plants and the other, which was leveled with earth to facilitate the construction.

According to sources, about 45,000 cubic meters of earth had been dumped into the water body before work started. In addition to that, constant movement of heavy trucks and dumping of malba in the area had choked the lake. The issue was then taken up by NGOs and locals. The L-G intervened and asked the PWD to ensure that the lake was restored to its original state after completion of the project.

The earth being dug out is sent to a nearby farmhouse where the level of land has to be raised. Jyoti Sharma, director, NGO FORCE, who has been pursuing the Neela Hauz restoration matter since work started on the flyover in 2008, said: ‘‘When I visited the site recently, I saw big craters where there had been a solid road till some days back, In those craters, I saw water slowly and hesitantly reclaiming its rightful place. Little by little, section by section, they have started taking out the earth that had filled up the lake. Trucks are lined up during the day and they continuously transport the earth to a nearby site.’’

The work on the flyover started in May 2008 and was scheduled to be completed by September 2009. But due to technical issues, work has been stalled and will now be completed by June.

After that, all the malba in and around the water body will be cleaned up and the area developed into a bio-diverse park along with Sanjay Van that is right next to it.