SRINAGAR, Feb 28: The State High Court today constituted teams of Court Commissioners to oversee and inspect the condition of roads in the Valley and sought report from them.
Hearing Public Interest Litigation on dilapidated and worsened condition of various roads in the Valley the Division Bench of Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Tashi Rabstan constituted 5 teams of Commissioners comprising at least two lawyers in each team for bringing the real position of roads before the court on next date of hearing.
Court constituted three lawyers – G N Sofi, Ashiq Hussain and Rizwan Bhat – to oversee the road condition of National Highway from Qazigund to Srinagar. They have been directed to visit the road and would be accompanied by one official from M/S RAMKY Infrastructure Ltd (contract agency) and one from National Highway Authority of India to inspect the condition of road and sought report from the Commissioners by next date along with photographs of the road.
The PIL filed by civil society of Tral area has sought directions for repairing the National Highway from Jammu to Srinagar especially from Banihal to Srinagar and Srinagar to Baramulla. It also seeks directions to macadamize the existing old NH1A to make it fit for vehicular traffic to the minimum international and national standards level to the convenience of general public at large.
The petitioners also seek directions to the government to constitute a team of experts to have physical spot inspection and conduct survey of NH1A and other link roads of Kashmir valley to assess the gravity of dilapidated condition of the roads and submit a detailed report with complete remedial suggestions in a time bound period.
Another road project which starts from Srinagar to Sonamarg, two lawyers Fayaz Bhat and Asif Ali have been appointed as commissioners and have been directed to inform the court about its upgradation which is undertaken by NHAI.
Similarly from Bandipora to Sumbal which comes under Border Roads Organisation, two lawyers Fayaz Bhat and N A Malik have been appointed as Commissioners to oversee the road with concerned officials and report the court about its actual condition.
With regard to Srinagar-Sopore road Advocate B A Zargar and Shafkat Nazir have been appointed as commissioners to find out ground situation.
Court has also been informed that road from Awantipora to Tral is in dilapidated condition and in this regard two lawyers Mohammad Amin Khan and Shabir Ahmad Bhat have been appointed to inspect the road and report to the court.
Chief Engineer R&B submitted before the court that the up-gradation of the road is taken into consideration in today’s meeting.
In the meantime CE R&B (PWD) was present in the court and he apprised the court about the road conditions in the valley and the difficulties faced by the department to maintain them.
Court also impressed upon the Commissioners and concerned officers who accompany these teams during their visit to the respective roads, to work as one team and ensure the orders of the court are implemented. Report from Commissioners has been sought by the end of March and the matter has been posted for April 3.
Chief Engineer (R&B) Kashmir was last week directed to appear before the court to apprise it (court) about the conditions of roads in the Valley and the steps taken for maintaining the condition of the roads.
Earlier the authorities like R&B, PWD and Beacon held each other responsible for the control of these roads. As such, court in this regard had directed the state counsel to collect information regarding these concerns and file latest status report within two weeks.
In May last year, the Roads and Building department had submitted that Government was yet to release Rs 550 crore it needs to restore the flood damaged roads in Valley. Today also CE submitted before the court that out of 8000 link roads 4000 roads have damaged due to devastating floods.
The then Chief Engineer R&B had also informed the court that 1696 km out of total 13898.37 km (single lane) roads were badly damaged due to 2014 floods and had submitted that restoration will cost about Rs 327.16 crore and none of it has been released.
The Chief Engineer had also submitted that his department had submitted to the Government a plan for permanent restoration and upgrading of 25.24km of roads in cities and towns, which will cost Rs 385 crore.