Sukhna Lake

  • Sukhna Lake is a rain-fed lake, located within Chandigarh and its catchment area falls both in Punjab and Haryana.
  • It is man-made lake which was built in 1958 by Le Corbusier, the architect of Chandigarh.
  • It is located in the foothills of the Shivalik Hills; it was designed to collect runoff water from the Hills.
  • An area of 2 km to 2.75 km around the lake has been declared as an eco-sensitive zone by the Chandigarh Administration.
  • Sukhna is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, storks and cranes, during the winter months. The lake has been declared a protected national wetland by the Government of India.
  • Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations, too. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons when scores of varieties of mangoes are on display.
  • The Punjab and Haryana High Court has declared Sukhna lake (Chandigarh) as a living entity in 2020.
    • The court invoked its parens patriae jurisdiction to declare the lake as a legal entity for its survival, preservation and conservation having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
    • All the citizens of Union Territory, Chandigarh, are hereby declared as loco parentis (in the place of a parent) to save the lake from extinction.
  • The court has completely banned new construction in the catchment areas falling in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh as well as in the Sukhna Wetland and Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Earlier, Uttarakhand High Court declared the rivers Yamuna and Ganga as legal or juridical persons, enjoying all the rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
    • The HC bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed in 2014 and gave a landmark judgment stating that the Ganga and the Yamuna must be treated as living entities.
  • Polluter pays principle:
    • Invoking the ‘polluter pays’ principle of environmental law, the Court said in its order: “The States should have taken precautionary measures to save the catchment of Sukhna lake. It is the duty of the States of Punjab and Haryana to restore the catchment area. The State government has also failed to take precautionary measures to save the catchment area. The damage caused to the catchment area is enormous.”
Sukhna Lake

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is located at the foothills of the Shivalik range in Chandigarh.
  • It forms part of the Sukhna Lake catchment area falling in the Shivalik Hills.
  • The sanctuary was developed as a result of afforestation done for soil conservation around Sukhna Lake. It came into existence in March 1998 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Spanning over an area of 2600 hectares, the place is quite unstable geographically and becomes prone to soil erosion by surface runoff during rains.
  • It has sandy soil of Shivalik with pockets of clay embedded at places. 
  • Apart from the Sukhna Lake, there are around 150 small and large water bodies in the sanctuary that form its catchment area.
  • Vegetation:
    • It is characterized by a mix of forests, grasslands, and wetlands, with the Sukhna Lake forming an important part of the ecosystem.
  • Flora:
    • The common flora of the sanctuary includes Khair, Phulai, Kikar, Shisham, Moonj, Amaltas, Jhingan, Amla, Rati, Vasaka, and many more.
  • Fauna:
    • Squirrel, Common-Mongoose, Indian Hare, Porcupine, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Wild boar, etc are the mammals found in the sanctuary.
    • Peacock, Hill myna, Jungle crow, Black drongo, Parrots, Doves, and others are the common birds of this region. Migratory birds also flock around this place.

Shivalik Hills

  • It is also called Siwalik Range or Outer Himalayas.
  • It extends for more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km).
  • It has an average elevation of 3,000 to 4,000 feet (900 to 1,200 metres).
  • It rises abruptly from the plain of the Indus and Ganges (Ganga) rivers (south) and parallels the main range of the Himalayas (north), from which it is separated by valleys.

What does being “living entity” means?

  • Rights are the obligations that society and state have for establishing sustainable relationships.
  • With this ruling, Sukhna Lake is no more voiceless water body, but “person” with legal rights.
  • As “juristic person”, the lake, have a right to be legally protected from any kind of harm or destruction.
  • Polluting it, henceforth, could entitle to human rights violation for which it can take legal recourse.
  • From now, the lake can be a party to disputes and rights violation, represented by court-appointed individuals who can file and contest cases on its behalf.

Sandy Soil

  • Sandy Soil is light, warm, dry and tends to be acidic and low in nutrients.
  • Sandy soils are often known as light soils due to their high proportion of sand and little clay (clay weighs more than sand).
  • These soils have quick water drainage and are easy to work with. They are quicker to warm up in spring than clay soils but tend to dry out in summer and suffer from low nutrients that are washed away by rain.
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