J&K Water Resources Regulatory Authority remains headless since Jan, Govt unconcerned

One Member too resigning, functioning to suffer immensely

Posts sanctioned by AC over one year back yet to be filled

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, May 27: The Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority is headless since January this year but the Government has not initiated any step to appoint new Chairperson. Moreover, one of the two Members is too resigning as a result of which the functioning of Authority vested with the responsibility of regulating water resources will suffer immensely.
Former Chairman of Central Water Commission G S Jha was appointed Chairperson of Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority on October 22, 2020 by the Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 139 of the Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2020.
Similarly, in the month of April 2021, the Government appointed A Paramesham, Chairman Krishna River Management Board and Kishore Chandra Naik, former Chairman, Central Ground Water Board were appointed as Members of the Authority.
“Though G S Jha completed his tenure on attaining the age of 65 years in the month of January this year leaving the Authority headless yet the Government has not initiated any step to fill the vacant post till date”, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “Jal Shakti Department is required to initiate the steps and take up the matter with the Government for appointment of new Chairperson but it is not showing any seriousness in this regard”.
Moreover, A Paramesham, who is still having tenure in the Authority, has decided to resign because of some personal reasons and despite being aware of this aspect no effort has been made by the Government to appoint new Member. “Following resignation of A Paramesham, there will be only one Member in the Authority against the posts of three and due to this, the functioning of the Authority will suffer immensely”, sources said.
The intensity of non-seriousness of the Government towards the Authority can be further gauged from the fact that several posts which were sanctioned over one year back have yet not been filled.
The Administrative Council headed by Lieutenant Governor on March 30, 2021 approved the proposal of the Jal Shakti Department to create 19 posts in the J&K Water Resources Regulatory Authority to enhance its efficacy. These posts included Ground Water Scientist, an Agriculture Scientist, two Superintendent Engineers, three Executive Engineers, four Assistant Engineers, five Junior Engineers, two Senior Assistants, and a Junior Assistant.
Though some Engineers were deputed by the Government in the Authority yet maximum of the sanctioned posts are still vacant and shortage of manpower is creating impediments in the smooth functioning of the Authority which has been vested with the responsibility to regulate water resources within the territorial jurisdiction of the Jammu and Kashmir UT, ensuring judicious, equitable and sustainable management, allocation and utilization of these resources, fixing the rates for use of water, and all other connected matters.
How the concerned authorities can be so non-serious towards making the Authority fully functional especially when Lieutenant Governor has laid stress a number of times on conservation of water resources remains a million dollar question, sources said, adding while reviewing the issues of water resources development and management in the Union Territory on April 12, 2021, the Lieutenant Governor had assured all support of the administration to the Authority.
“The J&K UT is rich in water resources but due to unplanned development and increase in population, the availability of clean water is very much in danger and hence, the management and regulation of water resources become more important. But it is a matter of serious concern that the Authority which has a crucial role to play in this regard is being ignored by the Government”, sources said.
Pointing to the alarming situation of reducing numbers of ponds and depleting water resources, sources said that survey conducted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1998 noted that there were 1248 natural water sources, rivers, ponds etc. However, during the satellite mapping of the same in 2009, this number was reduced to just 565.
In view of this, all those agencies and authorities which are involved in the management of water resources are required to be strengthened and provided with all the facilities for smooth functioning, sources stressed.