HC directs for action plan on interlinking Jhelum, tributaries

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Feb 4: As the authorities failed to prepare a concrete action plan for inter-linking of the streams, wetlands, lakes and the river Jhelum, the High Court today directed the Chief Secretary to appoint the Nodal Officers, who can prepare it.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar expressed its displeasure over the approach of the authorities with regard to preparation of interlinking of water bodies with River Jhelum, directed the Chief Secretary to appoint Nodal Officer for the same.
Court observed that in earlier directions authorities were directed to prepare the action plan of interlinking of existing wetlands and streams with river Jhelum but till date nothing positive have been placed on record.
When asked, State counsel submitted that he has received the compliance report but could not file the same on time.
Court on cursory look of the report said that it does not contain concrete action plan as directed by the Court. The Court said it is a serious issue in nature and directed for filing of concrete ‘Action Plan’ by or before next date.
Since the direction from the court was passed on October 24 last year for concrete action plan for inter-linking of water bodies with the appointment of one of the Secretaries as nodal officer for the said job, the Government has not forwarded a single step except for appointment of the Nodal Officer.
Amicus to the PIL advocate Nadeem Qadri submitted the concern with regard to Solid Waste thrown into the river Jhelum. He submitted that the authorities are not taking any serious step to stop the same to address the said aspect. Court directed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to ensure that no Solid Waste is thrown into the river.
Court on various occasions had directed the authorities to re-establish the network between the Jhelum, streams, lakes and wetlands and had sought report from all the concerned in this connection and as the authorities failed to take the said exercise to its logical conclusion, which prompted the court to appoint the Nodal Officer for such exercise.
With regard to raising of a Police Post on Irrigation canal/Kuhl, the Deputy Commissioner Kulgam has been directed to file compliance report as he has been directed to ensure that no construction is allowed to be raised on the irrigation canal/Kuhl and in case it is found that any construction is raised on spot the same was directed to be removed failing which he shall appear in person on next date.
In another suo moto cognizance on the instructions of Supreme Court, the DB sought compliance from Ministry of Environment and Climatic Change through its Secretary to inform the court on the issue of constitution of State Wet Land Authority.
Court has been informed by the amicus that the Central Government has identified 2 lakh wet lands in the country and Supreme Court on the concern of wetlands under “Ramsar Conservation Sites” directed to all the States for new wet land rules and expressed the urgency for the management of wetlands and till date nothing has been done by the J&K State Government in this connection.
Court has been further informed that as per the ‘Atlas Ecology and Remote Sensing’ of the State there are 1230 wet lands identified in the State under ‘Ramsar Conservation Sites’.


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