Bill to conserve Rajasthan's lakes passed

Jaipur; The Rajasthan Assembly on Saturday passed a bill for the protection, conservation and beautification of lakes in the desert state.

The assembly passed the Rajasthan Lakes (Protection and Development) Authority Bill, 2015 by voice vote.

Moving the bill, Urban Development and Housing Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat said it provides for the development and protection of lakes and for the constitution of a lake development authority.

"Our aim is to protect, conserve, and develop lakes in the state," he said.

As per the bill, all lakes in the state, except private properties situated in such lakes, shall vest in the state government and no person shall undertake any activity within the boundaries of a lake or use or draw any produce or water from a lake otherwise than in accordance with the permission granted by the authority.

The lake development authority has been given widespread powers.

Every town planning authority shall consult the authority before preparing spatial or development plan of any area comprising a lake.

No construction will be allowed in the protected area without obtaining prior permission of the authority.

However, the bill protects religious rights and specifically notes that nothing in the Act shall restrict any religious rights of any section of the society in respect of a lake having religious importance.

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