JAMMU, Dec 30: Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Kumar has allowed the Wildlife Department to immediately utilize around 200 kanals of area for preservation of world famous Gharana wetland in R S Pura tehsil, which has been marked through poles after taking the GPS readings.
When the matter came up for hearing, Additional Advocate General Rohit Kapoor submitted that as per the directions given by the Division Bench yesterday a team of Wildlife Department reached the spot this morning along with iron and cement poles to be fixed on ground for delineation. He further submitted that department has fixed 54 poles in the presence of SDM and SDPO R S Pura besides people of the area.
“The area which is immediately required has been marked on the spot through poles after taking the GPS readings of each of the poles. The exact points shall be marked out on a map based on the GPS readings”, he added.
After hearing Additional Advocate General Rohit Kapoor, Senior Advocate M K Bhardwaj with Advocate Karan Sharma for the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking preservation of Gharana wetland and Senior Advocate P N Raina for the villagers of Gharana, the Division Bench appreciated the swiftness of the Wildlife Department and directed the revenue authority to identify the ownership/occupation in respect of the area so marked out and the report shall be submitted within four days.
“The land falling within the perimeter of these poles may be utilized for the purpose of preserving the Gharana wetland. However, that will be subject to final orders of this court”, the DB said, adding “in case the respondents need to acquire any land for preserving the wetland at Gharana they may take appropriate steps under the J&K Land Acquisition Act”.
“This order has been passed with the consent of the petitioners because they have fairly stated that they are also interested in the preservation of the wetland provided their rights are also protected. The revenue authority shall act upon this order immediately so that they appropriately identify the areas within the time specified”, the DB added.
While considering the issue of compensation which may be payable to the villagers whose land may be acquired, the DB directed, “the acquiring authority shall first consider to provide the villagers land in lieu of the land that they are taking and also try to settle the compensation through negotiations with the villagers”.