SRINAGAR, Feb 16: The State High Court today while expressing its displeasure over the casual approach of authorities in saving and safeguarding the world famous Dal lake observed that despite court directions and constituting of committees, the authorities have failed to save the lake.
Court observed that all the authorities have failed to save the lake from pollution and encroachments. “Since from 2003 hundreds of directions have been passed which are now in shape of a book but nothing is implemented on ground level”, Division Bench of Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed today.
Court after looking its orders which have been compiled in shape of a book by the registry observed that there should not be more direction on the authorities as court would get these voluminous directions implemented on ground level.
“We impress upon implementation of court orders passed from time to time. We do not believe in paper work implementation should be on ground level”, Justice Sudhakar observed.
Justice Magrey while expressing his deep concern and displeasure observed that since from 2002 hundreds of directions have been passed but court wants those directions be implemented on ground. He also observed that all the authorities like State, committees, LAWDA have failed to save the lake.
Court observed that since 2003 about Rs 1200 crore have already been released by Government of India and asked where has the money gone that were meant for improvisation and development of the lake but no improvement has taken place.
Court questioned to VC LAWDA who was present in the court as to what problems do the authorities have in saving the lake. During the course of proceedings Vision Document has also been produced before the court. VC LAWDA submitted before the court that for shifting of Dal dwellers, about 2000 plots are in process at Rakh-e-Arth. Court pointed out that it is reiterated that for the last many years when would the project be completed.
Amicus Curie during the proceedings submitted that despite the directions of court and decisions of monitoring committee, constructions which otherwise are banned in and around the lake are being clandestinely raised. AG with these submissions rebutted that if monitoring committee is not doing its job then Shah, who also is the member of the Monitoring Committee, should raise these issues before the Monitoring Committee.
Court also felt that apart from Monitoring Committee there should be an implementing committee which would implement the decisions and directions of the Monitoring Committee as well as of court.
About the up-gradation of the STPs court has been informed that it costs about Rs 46 crores. To this, the court emphasized for installation of new STPs. Court also observed that money should be a last issue as saving environment must be a premierÂ issue, so both should be considered i.e upgradation of old STPs and installation of new STPs Court while reserving its further directions impressed by next meeting of Monitoring Committee in the month of February and impressed that deliberation should on the issue of STPs in the said meeting in the first instance.
It may be mentioned that in the month of November last year Lakes and Waterways Development Authority informed the court that the monitoring committee of water bodies has taken various decisions for safeguarding and protecting of lakes and court directed LAWDA to complete those decisions and file fresh compliance report before the court on next date.
But till date those decisions are only on the papers and no decision has been given the effect on the ground level which today prompted the court to pass strictures against the all the stake holders.
In its 5th meeting of monitoring committee which was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary on October last year and various decisions taken in its 4th meeting was deliberated for safeguarding and conserving of water bodies including lakes in the State.
In its first deliberation and discussion on formulation of comprehensive legal frame work for the enactment of a strong legislation for the preservation of all water bodies in the State.
Second deliberation and discussion was on constitution of the scientific advisory committee to explore the possibilities of incorporation of the eminent scientists from Kashmir University as also from Jammu University and Vice Chancellor Kashmir University was approached and he recommended panel of five scientists.
Third decision was taken with regard to expeditious development of Rakh-e-Arth Colony (shifting place of Dal dwellers).
With regard to fourth issue about establishment of common STP in place of four STPs (3 existing and 1 proposed) and about the vision document it was submitted that the issue was deliberated upon and it was desired to invite concerned company (IIT Roorkee) along with its team to Kashmir to make a presentation so that their report can be place before the court for consideration and decision.
Fifth issue which was taken in the court was physical demarcation of 200 metre zone from the periphery of Dal and Nigeen lake with proper signage and Geo-tagging.