The effect of National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order prohibiting the operation of motor boats in the Upper Lake was visible from Thursday. The NGT has retrained the Government from running any cruise boat in any designated wetland in the state, including the Bhopal’s Upper Lake. The order was followed in letter and spirit. There are as many as 10 motor boats operating at the Boat Club and Sair Sapata in the Upper Lake. The operations of all these boats, including the famous cruise, in the lake were stopped on Thursday. The ticket counter for the cruise was also shut on the day. A few visitors who had gone to the lake also returned disappointed. Boat Club witnesses a footfall of over 1,500 visitors in a day. A large number of visitors take a boat ride in the lake.
MP Tourism officials claimed that they will appeal in the Supreme Court in connection with the order. The boats like Lake Princess and Jalpari will either be used for any other purpose or in any other way will be decided later. The NGT’s order is aimed at conserving the water bodies from pollutants of diesel operated boats. The emissions from boats pose threat to the water bodies and the aquatic flora and fauna. The emissions from fuel operated boats turns the water bodies acidic which are harmful both for human lives and for the fishes, turtles or other aquatic invertebrates.
The NGT’s central zone bench comprising the Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Afroz Ahmad also banned the raising of any permanent construction within zone of influence of water bodies/wetlands and also ordered to raze any permanent construction there. Commander Rajendra Nigam, advisor in the MP Tourism Board, says that they will approach the Supreme Court for resumption of operations of the motor boats in the lake. He said that these boats do not pollute the water bodies and we ensure the waste generated is also disposed off. We sell 2,000 to 2,500 tickets on week days and over 4,500 tickets on weekends for these boats, said the officer. He said that tickets of speed boats and cruise account for 50 per cent of the figures. The total revenue generated through speed boats is around Rs 25,000 on weekends, he said.