Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday directed State Pollution Control Board to submit a report by September 27 about the management of sewage as well as quality of the water in the ecologically fragile tourist resort of Sonamarg.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench headed by Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed also directed Chief Executive Officer Sonamarg Development Authority to submit separate report about general sewage treatment in the resort.
It also directed the new CEO, who joined on September 14, to ensure that common (sewerage treatment plant (STP) was placed so that sewage does not flow as untreated into river Sindh.
The Court also directed the concerned authorities to ensure proper management of solid waste and other non-biodegradable waste in and around the resort.
It also directed the Station House Officer of concerned Police Station to cooperate with the authorities.
Meantime Environment Assessment Plan (EAP) was submitted before the court and subsequently, it directed the BOCA of SDA to expedite the process for finalization so that the Master Plan for the resort can be revisited. It posted the PIL for further consideration on September 29.
“The Sonamarg area, it is evident, has suffered serious environmental degradation because of apathy on the part of stakeholders. Essentially, there are four aspects to the Sonamarg area. The first is the attraction of the meadows in the Sonamarg. The very name, Sonamarg, reflects its actual nature, in the sense that it means ‘golden meadow’,” the court observed previously.
The second aspect which needs immediate attention was the Thajiwas Glacier, the court had underlined and asked the Earth Sciences Department, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal, to submit a report whether it was receding or not.
“The third aspect which also requires immediate concern is the Thajiwas Wildlife Sanctuary and the associated forest areas.”
The last and fourth facet, the court said, was Sindh River which passes through Sonamarg and observed that “it is often neglected.”
“The (SPCB) shall also submit a status report with regard to water and air pollution and the manner of treatment of effluents and sewage.” To save Sonamarg from becoming a concrete jungle, the High Court has already banned till further orders all constructions at the tourist resort.
“I have seen situation in Sonmarg. It is alarming as buildings are coming up in meadows. Glaciers are receding and mountains are crumbling which is a major cause of global warming. Forest area in Sonamarg has also been eaten away,” the Chief Justice had observed.
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