The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court (HC) on Monday passed a slew of directives to protect and preserve the 113-hectare Lonar Crater Lake in Buldhana, after it turned pink, owing to a rise in the PH (acidity) and salinity levels of lake water, was reported earlier this month.The High Court has asked the state government regarding the change in the colour of the lake and directed to give a reply by June 29.
During a special sitting on Monday, the HC directed four senior lawyers, including senior advocate CS Kaptan (counsel for petitioner Anand Parchure), state pollution control board’s standing counsel Ravi Sanyal and amicus curiae Ashutosh Dharmadhikari, to visit the crater and submit a status report.
The state forest department in its report informed that the samples of the lake water were collected with the help of microbiologists and sent to the Pune-based Agarkar Institute and the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI). The division bench of justice Sunil Shukre and justice Anil Kilor then directed the experts from NEERI to examine the findings on glass surface on the Lonar Crater Lake and submit its report within four weeks. Agarkar Institute was also asked to submit its report.
The bench also directed the irrigation department to collect the water from the lake on a regular basis as well as from the nearby dam at the upper level and make it available for an explanation for comparative analysis to arrive at the conclusion.
Apart from these bodies, the public works department as well as the Buldhana collector were directed to file a report about the possible alternate site for the Lonar-Kinhi Road passing through the ecologically-sensitive zone. If a possible site cannot be found, the court directed the two authorities to take all necessary precautions.
The shortage of water supply faced by the Lonar Municipal Council and residents owing to the old supply line was also highlighted before the bench and the council was directed to submit a fresh proposal to Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran within the next 10 days.The 77.69-hectare lake area is a part of the Lonar sanctuary that expands over 3.66 sqkm. It is famous as the world’s largest basaltic impact crater.