HC directs for Govt decision on issues of Dal lake

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Feb 28: The High Court today directed the Government to submit the decision before the court with regard to the directions passed on examining the buffer zones of Dal lake as notified in the new Master Plan and other issues of the water body.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal and Justice Mohan Lal directed for placing on record the decisions taken by the Government with regard to preservation and protection of lake.
The court had directed the Lakes Conservation Management Authority (LCMA) who were many times directed to examine the buffer zones of the lake and report the court.
These directions followed after the LCMA counsel submitted that the Committee headed by the Principal Secretary to the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Housing and Urban Development Department, has already taken certain decisions with respect to the directions passed by this Court from time to time.
He informed the court that he will be placing on record the said decisions within two weeks by way of a proper motion. “He shall do so by the next date of hearing positively, with a copy in advance to all the learned appearing Counsel for the parties,” the DB directed.
The DB in order to enable the court to effectively determine the issues highlighted in previous orders, granted the time to the respondents to comply with the previous directions of this Court.
Court in the order dated 08.09.2022 while taking note of Chapter-VIII of the Master Plan 2035, which relates to the issues concerning the lakes, had observed that given the extent and manner in which permissible uses have been defined in Master Plan 2035, it was felt that to balance the needs for sustainable development and economic prosperity of the area, certain clarifications and guidelines are necessary to ensure that the provisions of the Master Plan are not abused.
Accordingly, a number of guidelines came to be issued by the Court and it was observed that the Master Plan is open for revision and modification as per the advice of the experts i.e. the Town Planners, Environmentalists and other stakeholders including the authorities responsible for the Smart City Project.
The Court further had observed that the Advocate General may take appropriate steps to get the area of the buffer zones around Dal Lake re-examined by the State authorities and to place the same on record within six weeks after providing a copy of the same to the learned Amicus Curiae who may file his objections suggestions thereto.
On previous date when the matter was taken up, it was found that even after a lapse of two months, no steps had been taken by the respondents pursuant to order dated 08.09.2022 and nothing was placed on record before the Court.
Court on approach of the authorities observed that no sense of urgency towards addressing the issues highlighted by the Court has been shown by the respondents at least this is discernible from the contents of the application filed on behalf of the Principal Secretary to Government Housing & Urban Development Department.
“As to what the respondents were doing from 8th September, 2002, to 18th November, 2022, when the meeting is stated to have taken place, is not indicated in the application. Prima facie, it appears to us that it is only when the date of hearing in the Court was approaching the respondents felt the necessity of holding the meeting and initiating the steps for compliance of the Court orders”, Court recorded.
Court further added that had the respondents initiated these steps immediately after the passing order dated 08.09.2022, by now the exercise would have been completed and the compliance report would have been before us. Having regard to the conduct of the respondents, which, prima facie, shows non-seriousness on their part, there is hardly any justification for extending the time for complying with previous directions of this Court.