Pursue Project Involving Shifting Of Houseboats ‘Vigorously’: HC

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the government to pursue Dole Demb project, involving shifting of house boards from Dal Lake, vigorously.

As hearing of a Public Interest Litigation started before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed, LAWDA submitted that a revised Detailed Project Report for the entire Dal project including Dole Demb at an estimated cost of Rs 1488 crore has been submitted. The project is Central government funded.

The court said the state government has to pursue matter vigorously so that the revised DPR was examined and the project executed. The court also made it clear that revised DPR and the process for its acceptance shall not come in the way of utilizing funds already which have been sanctioned and available. The H&UDD has only released Rs 8.40 Crores out of 29.60 crores sanctioned. “they should release the entire amount whatever has been projected for the Dole Demb project exclusively.”

On last date of hearing, the court had said that it would ‘constrained’ to issue direction of “coercive nature, if “all authorities concerned” fail to take appropriate action to shift house boats from Dal Lake, the flagship of Kashmir tourism.

“The shifting of house boats to Dole Demb area has not made any progress at all,” the court had said while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed in 2002.

“The directions (regarding shifting of the house boats) were given as far as in 2015. The entire plan was approved by the cabinet, yet no action has been taken,” the court said, adding, “We are now informed by the LAWDA that a fresh DPR has been submitted for entire Dal Lake which includes the dole demb area as an integral part of the scheme for shifting the house boats.”

The DPR was pending with House and Urban Development Department, counsel for LAWDA informed.

“The same has to be approved and then forwarded to central government for final approval,” he said.

Subsequently, the court directed the H&UDD to expedite the process. “Pendency of the DPR would not in any manner would hamper the continuance of the earlier project for which funds have already been received and funds deposited with allied departments for carrying out the work,” the court said.

Referring to its 14 October 2015 order, the court said that the government infirmed that the process of shifting of the house boats would be carried in phased manner. “The first phase required shifting of 76 house boats and even that has not been done,” the court said and directed “all authorities concerned” to take up the issue expeditiously and “seriously” and file status report. “If appropriate action is not taken, we may be constrained to issue directions of the coercive nature,” the court had said.

With regard to peripherals springs of Dal and Nigeen Lake, LAWDA said that it conducted survey of 14 such springs located immediate periphery and. The spring that has been identified are as under Maqdoom Mohalla Habak, Channi Mohalla Habak, Shadab Bagh Habak, Tahira Bagh-1, Tahira Bagh-2, Khatoon Nag Laam, Syed Meerak Shah, Police Station Nishat, Drangal Ishbar Wani Mohalla Ishbar, Near Parking Nishat, Kanitar (within Masjid Nigeen), Kanitar (Nigeen) and Yatoo Mohalla Saderabal

Court said that further study should be done to clearly indicate as to whether the channels from springs to the lakes was clear from any encroachment or not. “if there are encroachments specifically pinpoint those locations,” the court said.

Regarding regularization of the staff of LAWDA, the court was informed that the proposal has been received in the Housing and Urban Development Department on 19 February this year and the case was under examination in the department and would be finalized. While government said it may take some time, the court expressed hope that this would be expedited and completed within eight weeks.

 

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