HC seeks report on Dal being declared eco-sensitive

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Feb 25: The High Court today sought the information from the Government on declaring the area of Dal lake and its surroundings as eco-sensitive zone as also process of shifting the locals from lake to the identified places.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice D S Thakur after perusal of reports of Committee of Experts (CoEs) and LAWDA according to which declaring the Dal lake and its adjoining areas as eco-sensitive zone has been discussed threadbare and sent to Administrative Department for further notification, directed the further progress on the issue be placed before the court on next date.
During the hearing on the matter, Court on shifting of Dal dwellers was apprised that 225 families have been shifted to Rakh-e-Arth for rehabilitation and further 550 kanals of land has been identified in Shalimar side situated on outskirts of Srinagar city. Court has been informed that the shifting of Dal dwellers will be done in a proper mechanism so that any kind of dispute would not arise with the beneficiaries.
On emitting of pollution by the Hotels, the Court has been informed that 13 hotels have been found not to handle the pollution with norms and closure notices have been issued to them and some of them have been already closed down. Court has sought further course of action against these hotels. During the proceedings of the case it has been further found that LAWDA has recently identified 242 structures raised in and around the lake. Court has directed the Authority to place an Action Taken Report against these structures indicating as to how these structure came up despite a blanket ban.
The maintaining the bio-diversity of the lake, two experts have been appointed, amongst them one is from Kashmir University and other is from Delhi University and the experts would report the Court on next date. Court has also directed for forming of a policy about those Houseboat owners who want to do away with their HBs so that they be provided proper way of earnings.
Court directed for capturing of videography of the lake in order to find out its present position. In this connection, the VC LAWDA informed the court that NIT for the said purpose is being issued and it would take almost 15 days for the process and thereafter almost 3 months for exercise of videography of the lake.
These decision have been taken by the Government after taking into consideration the report made by Committee of Experts (CoE) on Dal and Nigeen lakes in which Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of J&K was asked to interact with the CoEs in order to urgent decision and resolving the issues pertaining to these lakes.
It is the CoE which has recommended reduction of the number of houseboats and dongas and in view of the recommendation, the authorities were directed that the number of houseboats on Dal-Nigeen lake shall not be permitted to be increased. The number of houseboats which have been given registration, shall not be increased in any manner.
The observations made by the Committee of Experts is based on the fact that the houseboats and dongas are parked on the Dal lake without any fixed order and the gap between the boats is not uniform.
In the special report, the Committee of Experts had made many valuable recommendations regarding restructuring of LAWDA. Court said these observations of the Committee show that there is very little experience or expertise within the Organization (LAWDA) and the staff is mostly on deputation with no fixed tenure.
The Committee has also suggested a Draft legislation to restructure LAWDA to make it into a compact, independent, professionally and a technically viable body, with clear role, responsibilities and accountability.