HC reprimands LAWDA for furnishing wrong information on Dal

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, May 22:  The State High Court today reprimanded the authorities for furnishing wrong information before the court on status of the Dal lake which has shrunk due to encroachments and pollution.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey rejected the 90 old map of Dal lake and its adjoining areas with the observation that it has not been interpreted by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) in its right perspective and directed them to provide the accurate form of the lake by way of map on next date of hearing.
Court after minutely going through the map of 1924 submitted by the LAWDA in terms of previous directions of the court, observed to LAWDA official that “You have not given perfect data as only outer boundary of the lake  has been drawn while as shrinkage has taken place inside the lake due to habitation”.
Court said that “it (map) may be accurate but your (LAWDA’s) interpretation is wrong”. During the proceedings of the case amicus to the PIL, senior advocate Z A Shah suggested that fresh map be furnished showing water surface and land area of the lake.
The Court was not satisfied  with the water level of lake shown by the LAWDA according to which it is same since 1924. “We want action. You people admit your lacunas. I am outsider. I feel very pity. You are insiders, you should also feel it”, the CJ observed.
Court reprimanded the authorities for furnishing wrong information before it and made serious observations on the authorities. “… these do not reflect the accurate form of lake as only out boundaries have been indicated in the map and no inner area has been shown. You are giving  wrong information. You have given only paper work. You were asked to go on spot and provide ground reality. It is totally wrong. Why you people hide the truth”,? DB asked.
Court on importance of the Dal lake also said that Srinagar exists because of this lake. If it (lake) is not there, there won’t be Srinagar. “Do not hoodwink the people. Admit that the lake has shrunk due to encroachments and pollutants”, court further observed.
Court also sought report on functioning of STPs operational in the lake at various places and in this connection directed both LAWDA and PCB to carry a joint exercise and filing of separate reports to find out the stand of output of STPs and compare it with actual output. “LAWDA and PCB shall also produce annual chart of both Dal and Nigeen as regards to chemical analysis of water taken by the authorities since 1997 till date”, court said.
LAWDA has also been directed to indicate on what basis deweeding of the lake is taking place and also information about the relocation of Dal dwellers as also House Boats has been sought from the authorities by Monday.
In addition to these directions, the Monitoring Committee has been directed to meet once in two months to get the directions of the Court implemented. Meanwhile, Court Commissioner’s report which has been taken on record revealed  that sewage in Dal is on higher range as also encroachments are on large scale.
During the proceeding, LAWDA counsel submitted that there is some proprietary land around the lake. Court rejected his submissions and said that entire area of lake was water in 1911 and now has been turned into land mass and how can you own water?
On flowing of untreated effluents into the lake, court has observed that huge quantity of sewage as shown by the authorities is flowing in the lake and said after 20 years there won’t lake but sewage and nothing.
De-silting has also been deliberated in today’s proceedings and court asked that why de-silting material taken from Dal as well as from river Jhelum is not used for rehabilitation site as court has been informed that there is dearth need of filling material on the site?
Court also made it clear that whatever the extent of Lake is till date, it should not go down and its water quality be maintained for the time being till effective measures are taken to bring back its original glory.

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