PATIALA: As de-silting of historical Rajindera Lake in Patiala city has thrown up several surprises, including a rare species of soft shell turtle, ecology lovers and green activists have demanded that the process be immediately stopped, so as to preserve flora and fauna of the water body.
Apart from a soft shell turtle, which was accidently recovered by municipal workers while cleaning the lake and classified as "one among the rare species" by wildlife experts, several varieties of snakes, bales of young turtles and precious parts were reportedly recovered from the lakebed.
Patiala resident and former deputy speaker of Punjab assembly, Bir Devinder Singh, who has written a letter to the chief secretary and chief wildlife warden demanding immediate ban on de-silting works, said, "The lake has been a natural habitat for rare species of aquatic animals for decades. It has rare flora and fauna which could provide interesting information to researchers engaged in analytical study from many critical angles."
Criticizing the authorities for adopting a casual approach while de-silting the lake, Bir Devinder said, "Such an ecological niche of rare formation should not be disturbed under any circumstances. I wonder how the chief wildlife warden has allowed the ignorant and imbecilic hands to chase these aquatic animals."
Balbir Singh, founder president of Friends of Environment Parks Society, Patiala said, "The way municipal authorities are dealing with the issue is apathetic. This is the only remaining major water body of Patiala. Either the authorities should stop de-silting works or rope in flora and fauna experts before digging the lakebed further down."