Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government is taking steps to check siltation, organic pollution and dumping of non-biodegradable waste in the natural Khajjiar lake, a minister said.
The Khajjiar lake, a wetland located at an altitude of 1,951 metres in the Dhauladhar range near Chamba town, 450 km from state capital Shimla, has shrunk in recent years due to siltation and unchecked growth of weeds.
"A comprehensive management plan for Khajjiar wetlands has been prepared for 10 years (2013-23) for Rs.6.14 crore and submitted to the ministry of environment and forests for financial support," Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri informed the legislative assembly on Friday.
Bharmouri said the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) July 29 with reference to the Khajjiar lake has been received and compliance is being made.
The NGT`s principal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, in its order, said: "The Union of India, along with the state government, shall take effective steps to revive the water body at Khajjiar and ensure its restoration to the original status as it existed in the past."
"Due to silting, the lake`s storage capacity has massively declined. This results in overflowing of rainwater," said an official of the state Council for Science and Technology and Environment, the nodal agency for monitoring all water bodies.
Studies by the council say unregulated grazing by livestock near the lake has deteriorated the grassy patch.
"Hoofs of livestock and ponies used by tourists have loosened the soil, making the lake prone to siltation," said an official, who did not wish to be identified.
He said that even the water of the lake has turned acidic as quintals of cow dung daily flow into it.
For the locals, the lake is sacred as it is linked to the Khajjinag deity, whose temple is located in the lake`s vicinity.