HC warns LAWDA officials over Dal conservation

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Feb 25: The State High Court today directed the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to take immediate remedial measures for the preservation of Dal lake and warned its officials over dereliction of duty.
The Division Bench of High Court comprising Justice MH Attar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while hearing the PIL on protection, preservation and safeguarding the famous Dal lake from encroachments and pollutants deferred its consideration for three weeks with the observation “that after three weeks any official found with dereliction of his duty would not find his place in his office but somewhere else”.
Court asked the Advocate General of the State to take serious measures on this serious issue and come up with concrete and practicable suggestions. “At request of learned Advocate General, today we defer consideration of all the reports. Learned Advocate General is also requested to take initiative in the back drop of court order dated 4.12.2015”, court said.
Court expressed its great displeasure and concern over insensitivity and thoughtlessness of all concerned authorities as they have failed to achieve the fruitful results in saving the Lake till date. “From the year 2002, this court has made earnest and vigorous efforts to ensure preservation of the world famous Dal Lake. If the things go on in the same fashion then the Dal Lake, which is shrinking and dying, will be non-existent in the near future”, court said.
Court besides the issue of rehabilitation of Dal dwellers at Rakh-e-Arth expressed its serious concern over the discharge of effluents in the lake and observed the pollutants which flow directly into the lake is of serious issue and directed for immediate remedial measures in this behalf.
Court also warned all hoteliers which are around the lake as also SKIMS (hospital) in case they do not take remedial steps for treatment of effluents which emit from their hotels as also from SKIMS. “In case remedial steps are not taken then court will be constrained to initiate action which may also result in shutting down all these hotels”, it warned.
In its order passed on 4.12.2015 for which the court asked Advocate General to take initiatives in the back drop of said order, court had said that as the amount released from Government of India to LAWDA under National Lakes Conservation Project (NLCP) but LAWDA has failed to utilize those funds on important projects of the lake.
The main projects for protection and preservation of the lake are rehabilitation of Dal dwellers, construction and maintenance of STPs, shifting of house boats, Drainage and other facilities which till date have not been achieved by the LAWDA.
Court had also mentioned in December 4 order that the amount released by GoI is too meager to meet the requirements for rehabilitation and development and may take more than two decades and by that time million cubic meters of untreated effluents would be added to the lake.
Court in this back drop had asked the Central Government to upsurge the flow of funds so that the projects be completed. “We impress upon Central Government to increase flow of funds for timely execution of the project. It would be appropriate, if 25 to 30 percent of the amount proposed to be spent on the project, the project is executed within a reasonable time frame”, mentions the court order.
Court fixed the hearing of the matter in the week commencing from March 22 and meantime directed court commissioners to make further visit of the Dal lake and its adjoining areas and file the report before the court by next date of hearing.


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