HC seeks list of illegal structures in Dal lake

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Sept 6: The High Court today directed Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to collect video and photographs of illegal concrete as well as temporary structures within the Dal lake so that orders for action are issued.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the LAWDA counsel M A Beigh (AAG) to collect the video-graphy and photographs shown to the court on last date of hearing by advocate Sajad Ahmad Mir which portrays that huge illegal constructions have come up recently within the peripheries of lake.
Court directed the LAWDA counsel ensure to collect the photographs and video-graphy of advocate Mir for authenticity so that orders for action be taken against the violators.
Advocate Mir on previous hearing showed the actual position of lake in open court via power point presentation which depicts the glaring violations of laws and court orders and numerous concrete structures have recently come up within the lake.
Advocate Mir, who is also assistant to amicus curie Z A Shah (Sr. Advocate), pointed out that these pictures have been taken in presence of Superintending Engineer and Enforcement Officer of LAWDA and about 25 fresh concrete structures have come up inside the lake from Hazratbal towards Ashai-Bagh.
Besides that, Advocate Mir submitted that drainage has also been constructed which starts from Raniwari to Nishat as also hundreds of Kanals land has been created out of water. He also said that number of colonies is inside the lake.
Court today also directed that the Scientific Advisory Committee which is holding the next meeting in October, to meet before the said date. Court has also observed that the minutes of Monitoring  Committee have not been put before the court and directed the same be laced by next date.
Court has been informed that MC is going to hold a special meeting to chalk-out the future plan for various issues regarding the Lake. Court directed the authorities that minutes of the said special meeting be produced before the court.
Court during the proceeding of the PIL observed that the main concern is unabated growth of water lilies and weeding throughout the lake. Court observed Dal should be visible. Due to growth of water lilies and weeding, it looks like a vegetation market.
Scientific Advisory Committee, court said, has in its earlier meeting suggested a proposal that it should be eliminated. According to status report of LAWDA, drive for removal of water lilies and de-weeding has come into force on 7 last month and 0.3 Sq Kms has been cleared from water lilies while as extent of coverage is estimated 5 Sq Kms. “It appears 10% removal of lilies has been done”, court said.
However LAWDA counsel assured the court that the drive shall be continued on war footing. Court has sought status report about the progress of removal of lilies and de-weeding with photopraphs on next date.
Court also directed de-weeding process be also continued so that upper water surface of lake is cleared. “Process shall continue and tangible results be put before the court”, DB directed.
Court has also been informed that there are four artificial wet lands in and around the lake. Court directed for up-gradation of these wet land as SAC has also suggested. Court has also been informed that demo of 3D of entire Lake was to be give effect. Court directed the same
exercise be done within 4 weeks not beyond that.
Court also directed that vision document of Lake be prepared and finalized expeditiously. Court directed the Government to take steps for fulfilling the equipment deficiency in the LAWDA laboratory.
It has also come to the knowledge of the court that illegal net fishing is being carried out during night hours which has resulted into decline of various species of fishes in the lake. Court was aghast at LAWDA authorities for not taking action against those who are doing such kind of practice. Court in this regard directed the Fishries Department to take appropriate steps and report to the court. Court has also directed the department to inform the court as to what criteria has been adopted while issuing licenses for fishing.
Report of PCB revealed that sample results taken from all the STPs of the lake are not optimal and need up-gradation as SAC has also noted that up-gradation of these STPs needs to be carried in future. In addition, there is requirement of establishing new STP.
Court directed to give the time line for both these exercises (up-gradation as also new STP) and directed Commissioner Secretary H&UDD to give the time line for the same issue.
Court was shown recent photographs of lake taken by LAWDA during its cleanliness drive, where in huge quantity of garbage and solid waste was shown to be carried out from the lake. CJ after these photographs repeatedly said that it is very ‘disgraceful’  as no religion propagates dirt and told the LAWDA that “it (Dal) is like a diamond in your State, if you will not maintain it then how will people come to see it.”
During the proceedings in the matter, deliberations have been also put on the water quality of the lake and nutrients like nitrate and phosphorus in the water,
Court observed that the picture emerging now is that sewage adds to the Dal nutrients in the form of nitrates and phosphates and none of the STPs is working with the desired results.

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