Although Rajasthan is identified in the desert state, but sites such as Sambhar Lake and Keoladeo Park spread over a hundred square km, give a picturesque and water-rich look to this frontier state having a past of majestic grandeur. Not only do tourists come from all over the world to see the Sambhar Lake, but thousands of birds from the Siberia, located six thousand km away, reach this lake every year by crossing icy mountains, but this time these migratory birds have suffered tragedy.
Such a frightening mishap has never been seen before, at least in India’s environmental history. The death of 18,000 birds in eleven days in Sambhar Lake has distraught the bird lovers, once again the question has arisen that how safe are our water sources. This aspect should also be noted that not only birds but Sambhar Lake is also dying.
Government agencies have been involved in a lengthy investigation process to find the cause of bird deaths but the regrettable aspect is that there is no questioning of diminishing catchment area, encroachment, brine theft, contaminated water, chaotic tourism and private resort in Sambhar Lake. Despite seven years of excess rainfall in the past ten years, many parts of the lake are still dry.
Checking the old record shows that in 1996 the catchment area of Sambhar Lake was about 5707 sq km which was reduced to just 4700 sq km a few years back. It clearly manifests that hundreds of Bighas of lake land have been occupied by influential people.
A large number of resorts have opened up around the lake in the name of tourism which are not allowing the water of the lake to remain natural. Due to the encroachment of the rivers through which the water flowed into this lake, the water coming into the lake has reduced drastically.
A similar threat like the Sambhar Lake is hovering over other old historical lakes and large water sources of the country. The main reason for their water being polluted is the hotels, pleasure homes and other private institutions opened around and the dirty rain water flowing in it.
The Rajasthan government had presented a report in the month of July in the assembly that salt thieves have encroached on the 431 Bigha Land of Sambhar Lake. Now the question arises that, are thieves so influential that the government could not take any action on them so far. If water stays in the lake, then the birds can inhabit here till February but the salt mafia is devastating the habitat of thousands of birds and the government machinery is helpless.
We have come to know only from the people of Rajasthan that by stealing brine through illegal boring, the salt producers of the private sector have knocked down the Sambhar Salt Limited.
We believe that various aspects of development are being focused on today, but the government’s plans for the development of a healthy and clean society are not being implemented properly due to administrative slowdown. Environmental security is a key factor for a healthy society. Mrs. Indira Gandhi brought environmental concerns to the national level in the 1970s itself.
She was a only leader of the world to visit Stockholm in 1972 to attend the first Global Conference on Environment and Development. He created the Water Act and the Air Act and enacted environmental laws to protect generations to come.
If our entire society could have recognizes the coming crisis timely, then the situation would not have been so worrisome today. The crisis on the environment is increasing day by day. We breathe toxic air from the atmosphere. We all know that we have serious environmental challenges which need to be fixed quickly. We also know that the danger hovering over our lakes, rivers, ponds and other water sources is not just a conception of words but it is real.
It is happening in front of us. Now monsoon season is changing in India. The temperature in 1880 is now one degree Celsius higher than it used to be, and the speed with which greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere will certainly break the railings of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This is the time when we have to redesign the policies dedicated to our industrial revolution. Our natural scientists had emphasized the need for inclusive growth and today we are also convinced that there cannot be a sustainable development and environmental protection unless it is inaccessible and inclusive.
Neither will you accept the problem, nor will it be solved, have to give up the obstinacy. Thousands of migratory birds would not have been killed if the instructions given by the National Green Tribunal in September 2017 had been implemented to comply with the Wetland Rules.