Rajasthan HC notice to govt over Jal Mahal

Rajasthan High Court today issued a show cause notice to state authorities on alleged illegal leasing out of Mansagar lake and Jal Mahal located in the middle of it, for construction of a hotel. A division bench of the high court comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice R S Rathore issued the notice to the state Chief Secretary, senior officials of Jaipur Development Authority and other government functionaries on a PIL filed by an NGO alleging that the lake and monument had been leased out illegally for the construction of a seven-star hotel. It was brought to the notice of the court that the heritage old building of Jal Mahal is a key monument of Jaipur situated in the midst of Mansagar lake. "Both the lake and the Jalmahal were previously declared protected monument on September 23, 1965 and subsequently due to ulterior reasons the same were denotified on November 18, 1971.
Both the lake and Jalmahal were then handed over to Jaipur Municipal corportation (JMC) and now a major portion of the lake has been parted with for the construction of a seven star hotel which is illegal," alleges the petition. The KGK consortium has illegally obtained the tender and the water bodies cannot be alineated by the state government, the PIL said. "The lake is a water reserve and the cannot be leased out under the law. Further it was mandatory for the JMC to have taken a resolution in general house before parting with a property under its possession by way of lease or otherwise which was not done in this case," said Ajay Kumar Jain counsel for Dharohar Bachao Samiti, the NGO which has filed the petition.
Citing an earlier high court order that the catchment areas of lakes and water reserves in Rajasthan should be restored, the PIL said, in case of Jalmahal the proposed construction for over 55,000 sq mtrs using lake water will not only squeez the available catchment area but also cause adverse effect on the ecology and heritage look of the site.