By Vipul Goel
Nainital (Uttarakhand), May 19 : For many decades, Municipal Corporation of Nainital and Uttarakhand's Department of Irrigation have been earning revenues from popular Naini Lake. But no effort has been made by either of them to keep the lake clean.
They have not been able to agree as to who is responsible for the lake's upkeep.
Commissioner of Kumaon Mandal, S. Raju has been at his wits' end trying to fix responsibility for the upkeep of the lake.
"This debate has been on for a long time after all the lake belongs to whom-- Municipal Corporation or the Irrigation Department. Both make their own claims. At the time of collecting money, Municipal Corporation comes forward and so does the Irrigation Department. But when it comes to the maintenance and cleanliness of the lake, everyone vanishes," opined Kamal, a local resident.
The history of Nainital is as old as 150 years.
There is a huge turnout of the tourists at Nainital every year.
While the Municipal Corporation earns revenue by collecting boating tax, fishing tax and toll tax. The Irrigation Department earns a big sum by drawing water from the lake.
Many believe that the District administration should be given the responsibility of maintaining the lake.
"District administration is the responsible authority. But it is not getting any benefit from it. It is rather the Municipal Corporation or the Irrigation Department, which are getting benefited from it. I believe that the lake should be handed over to the District administration because so far whatever work has been done there, it was by the District administration," said Ajay Rawat, an environmentalist.
But no final solution has been reached, the Commissioner is working for documentary proofs.
"Such questions have been raised since every Department has been taking benefits from it (lake). The Municipal Corporation is taking fishing rides and boat rides but when it comes to incurring expenditure, they turn their back. Similarly, the Irrigation Department says that it has the duty of closing the gates surrounding the lake but nothing towards its maintenance," said S. Raju, Commissioner of the Kumaon Mandal in Nainital.
He says: "I have been who is responsible for it. So far, I have not seen any documents."
Meanwhile, the Naini lake that draws so many honeymooners and tourists, is becoming dirtier with each passing day.