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The National Green Tribunal today directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a detailed report on the iconic Purana Quila lake here in four weeks. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the ASI to depute an officer to restore the lake which is covered with moss and has become a dumping ground. Advocate Neelam Rathore, appearing for the applicant in the case, said that despite the tribunal's direction, the condition of the lake has not improved and immediate steps were required for rejuvenating the water body. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by city resident Puja Jain seeking restoration of the water bodies in the national capital. The plea claimed that due to the apathy of the concerned authorities and poor water management, Delhi has already lost most of its water bodies, the most recent one being the Purana Quila Lake, adjacent to the historic monument. The green panel had earlier taken exception to non- compliance of its May 19 order to expeditiously restore all water bodies in the city. It had asked the ASI official to appear before it and explain why silt, sand and other debris have not been removed from the lake despite its specific direction. The tribunal had earlier directed the city government to rejuvenate water bodies and asked it maintain and clean them so that they become a source of natural beauty for the residents of the nearby area. The green panel had also approved a proposal put forth by the Delhi Jal Board to revive the Rajokri water body in south-west Delhi and develop it in an aesthetic manner. However, it had made it clear that there should be no use of "concrete, cement or brick" and the works should not change the natural geomorphology of the area. "We make it clear that needs of the water body will require protection of its catchment area and prevent siltation due to erosion and dumping of waste which alone will ensure a healthy water body rich in aquatic life and biodiversity," it said. The NGT had said that similar approach should be adopted by all public authorities including the Delhi Development Authority and municipal corporations to restore the water bodies existing within their jurisdictions in various parts of the city and ensure that they are not used for open defecation.
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