HC seeks report on relocation of Dal dwellers

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sept 10: High Court today directed for providing information with regard to relocation of Dal dwellers and the status of retrieving of land from those who have been settled to other places.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice D S Thakur directed that the Court on next date be informed about relocation and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers by the State.
Court also directed for information as to whether those persons have moved to resettlement sites, who have been given resettlement allotments and whether the State has retrieved the land from them after giving the resettlement allotments.
These directions followed after the bench on a cursory look observed that for last 16 years on a PIL regarding protection and conservation of Dal lake, numerous directions were issued, which have accumulated into 13 volumes.
Court while expressing its displeasure over the approach of authorities in saving the lake said, orders for the last 16 years have been of no avail as the respondents do not appear to have addressed any issue sufficiently to have made any significant impact.
“This is despite appointment of an Expert Committee and its recommendations. It would appear that a high level Expert Committee is required to monitor the steps related to restoration and preservation of the Dal lake and their completion”, Court recorded.
Since the amicus to the PIL Senior Advocate Z A Shah as also other advocates were not available today, Court said, the issues like uncontrolled development of weeds in the lake suffocating the same, untreated sewage flowing into the lake from the surrounding areas, untreated sewage being released into the Dal lake from the houseboats which are anchored in the lake, lack of sufficient oxygen in the lake which discourages fish and other organisms to survive therein, negative impact on account of dwellers on the lake which can be addressed only by their re-settlement and rehabilitation, complaints regarding propriety as well as adequacy of the measures by the State are to be found, catchment area of the Lake getting show on account of inter alia, growth of encroachments and unwarranted constructions, requirement of protection of streams which supply the waters to the Dal lake and loss of depth of the Dal Lake and effective measures for its dredging/restoration of the depth and its maintenance will considered on next date as also the steps taken by the respondents on these aspects will also be considered on the next date of hearing.
Court has also directed for diarizing a news paper report under the caption “Each day, 73% of 201 million liters of sewerage in Srinagar goes untreated into Dal, Jehlum” as application to the PIL and issues notice to authorities with regard to the news report. However, State Counsel accepted the notice and sought some time to file status report by or before September 24.
Fisheries and Wildlife Departments have been asked to inform the court about the fish population and other lake organisms which used to be found in the Dal Lake when it was still healthy and as are to be found today.
“State counsel will inform us about the relevant authority so far as the bird population which was thriving on account of the Dal Lake as well on the next date”, the court said.
He (state counsel) has been further asked to specifically inform the court about the public funds which have been spent by the Central and the State Governments on projects relating to the Dal lake since when the first order was passed.
“Dar, senior AAG will list out the projects for which the disbursement was made; the date thereof and the amount thereof; the date of completion of the work as per its award to an agency and the present status by the next date of hearing”, the Court directed.