The government has also been instructed to recover lake land that has been encroached and registered in the name of private individuals within a year.
KATHMANDU, Nov 23: In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed the government to demarcate Phewa Lake in Pokhara within six months and preserve its borders from shrinking.
The government has also been instructed to recover lake land that has been encroached and registered in the name of private individuals. The SC instructed the government to recover the encroached land within a year.
The full text of the apex court ruling in a writ petition filed by advocate Khagendra Subedi on January 24, 2011 has ordered the authorities concerned, including the Office of the Prime Minister, to maintain the lake boundaries as set out in a report prepared by a probe committee headed by Bishwa Prakash Lamichhane.
The court order was issued by a division bench of justices Om Prakash Mishra and Sapana Pradhan Malla. All houses and other structures built within 65 meters of the lake are to be removed within six months in coordination with the government of Gandaki Province.
The court has also instructed the government to acquire private land outside the 65-meter radius of the lake if this is deemed necessary for the conservation of Phewa.
Decisions concerning these matters are to be taken in coordination with the authorities concerned, including Pokhara Valley Municipal Development Committee and Kaski Land Revenue Office.
The apex court also instructed the government to make necessary preparations to declare the lake and surrounding areas a 'preserved watershed area' in order to conserve the lake, its wildlife and biodiversity as well as its historical and cultural significance.
Furthermore, the government has been instructed to construct check dams within three years at the lake's water intake sources such as the Harpan River and other rivers so that rocks, pebbles, sand and shrubs do not get deposited in the lake. Meanwhile, a court case concerning tourism entrepreneur Karna Shakya and his Waterfront Resort Hotel is ongoing.
The court had previously instructed the authorities to form a committee to investigate Shakya's hotel. The committee has already submitted its report.