STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: In a public Interest Litigation regarding Dal Lake cleanliness, a Division Bench of Jammu & Kashmir High Court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the Vice Chairman LAWDA to draw a complete scheme for management and development of Dal as well as surrounding areas in co-association with various departments and to submit same before the Court by next date after supplying copy of same to the Amicus Curiae and other parties concerned.
DB also directed Vice Chairman to survey and prepare a list of all drains that are flowing into the Dal and to take immediate steps that drain water and effluents are not discharged into the Dal and proper arrangements are made by Department concerned for the treatment of sewage or drain water, in sufficient number of plants, established at proper places. DB further ordered that an exercise may also be undertaken to find out if waste material from any houseboat is being discharged into lake and, if so, to take measures to stop it or to divert it to some alternative place.
DB further ordered that LAWDA would formulate a scheme for development and beautification of Char Chinar. DB said that appropriate measures are also required to be taken for the traffic management in and around the Dal area, especially on Boulevard road and Jetty at Nehru Park.
DB further emphasised that in line with earlier orders, no construction activities in Dal or in the area of Dal or prohibited area shall be permitted subject to condition as may have been imposed from time to time and steps would be taken for removal of all the encroachments. DB also directed that the Advocate General would supervise all above exercise to be undertaken by the LAWDA and ensure that a proper scheme and road map is presented before the Court by the next date
Earlier, when PIL came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed that this PIL had been initiated on the basis of a letter of one Syed Tahir Geelani, a student of 6th Semester LLB, University of Kashmir, Srinagar. The said letter highlights miserable condition of various water bodies and lakes, which at one time were the lifeline of the Valley/Srinagar city.
DB observed that ever since the initiation of the proceedings, various orders have been passed and even Committees have been appointed to supervise the cleaning and upkeep of the lakes, especially the Dal.
DB further observed that one of the orders on record dated July 10, 2020 classified various issues which require consideration and some of the issues are cleanliness of Dal; flow of sewage/liquid waste into Dal; solid waste management in and around the Dal; the responsibilities of the Tourism Department vis a vis development of the tourist and recreational spots; responsibilities of Lakes and Waterways Development Authorities (LAWDA) as well as Srinagar Municipal Corporation, concerning the area around the Dal, its maintenance and creation of public facilities; management of problems concerning house boats and their owners; removal of unauthorized constructions and stoppage of encroachments on area of Dal; and identification and development of rehabilitation location(s).
DB observed that the matter was taken up on March 31, 2021 when on intervention of the Advocate General, it was posted for today to enable the vice Chairman of the LAWDA to personally apprise Court how the authority proposes to tackle the above issues. Tufail Matto-Vice Chairman of LAWDA, observed that Vice Chairman emphasizes that taking care of weeds in the Dal lake is a top priority for which one weeding machine of the highest standard has been purchased but authority requires, at least, one more machine for cleaning of the lake.
Court, after hearing Sr. Adv Z A Shah, who is acting as Amicus Curiae and the Advocate General D C Raina for a considerable length of time, observed that notwithstanding the submissions made by the respective parties, we find that the various Committees which have been formed earlier are not of much use in present and that when a development authority has especially been created and established for the purpose, the entire responsibility should be shifted upon it and the authority alone should be allowed to work out a broad scheme for solving all problems as highlighted above in connection with the Dal. Division Bench further directed that all Committees that may have been created in the past in relation to this litigation stand disbanded and if necessary fresh committee or committees would be constituted, if necessary in future.