Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked Lakes and Waterways Development Authority to keep Dal Lake visible by continuing de-weeding process to clear the upper surface of the water body, a flagship of Kashmirs tourism.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the LAWDA to clear the lake of water lilies as advised by the Scientific Advisory Committee headed by Dr. A R Yousuf, former member of National Green Tribunal. The SAC felt that the spread of water lilies should be stopped immediately and the plants should be uprooted manually as well as mechanically.
The Vice Chairman LAWDA had assured the court on previous hearing that the process to eradicate the lilies shall be undertaken on a war footing. He said that entire process would take about three months but had assured the court that every effort would be made to complete the job earlier than that.
Due to growth of water lilies and weeds, it looks like a vegetation market, the court observed, recalling that SAC had suggested a proposal for eliminating the lilies and weeds.
In a status report, the LAWDA informed that removal of water lilies and de-weeding has been started from 7th of last month and 0.3 Sq Kms has been cleared from water lilies out of its extent of estimated 5 Sq Kms. It appears 10% removal of lilies has been done, the court said.
However, counsel representing LAWDA assured the court that the drive shall be continued on war footing.
(De-weeding) process shall continue and tangible results be put before the court, the division bench said and subsequently sought status report about the progress of removal of lilies and de-weeding with photopraphs on next date of hearing.
The court was also informed that there are four artificial wet lands in and around the lake. It directed up-gradation of the wetlands as suggested by the SAC. The court was also informed that demo of 3D of entire Lake was to be give effect and it directed that the same exercise shall be done within 4 weeks and not beyond that.
The court also directed that Vision Document of Lake be prepared and finalized expeditiously. Iut also directed the government to take steps for fulfilling the equipment deficiency in the LAWDA laboratory.
The court was also informed about illegal net fishing being carried during night hours which has resulted into decline of various species of fishes in the Lake.
The court expressed aghast at LAWDA authorities for not taking action against those who are doing such kind of practice. In this regard, the court directed the Fisheries Department to take appropriate steps and report to it. The court also directed the department to inform as to what criteria has been adopted while issuing licenses for fishing.
Meanwhile, the court also announced to order action against those who have raised illegal constructions within and outside the world famous Lake.
The court directed the additional advocate general M A Beigh to collect the videos and photographs shown to the court on last date of hearing by advocate Sajad Ahmad Mir, assisting amicus curie, which portrays large scale illegal constructions within the peripheries of Lake.
The division bench directed the AAG to collect the photographs and videos by advocate Mir for authenticity so that orders for action shall be taken against the violators. It also asked SAC to prepone its meeting originally scheduled in October.
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