Dal Matters: Govt Has Not Moved A Single Step Despite Court Directions

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SRINAGAR —Despite peremptory directions, the authorities have not moved a single step, the High Court has said and directed officials to strictly comply with the recommendations of the expert committee regarding stoppage of certain detrimental activity in and around the Dal Lake, the flagship of Kashmir’s tourism.

In case of non-compliance, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar said it take “an extremely serious view” .

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, court also made it clear that there should no infusion of fertilizers of any kind—organic or chemical alike.  

“We make it clear that so far as the recommendations of the Committee regarding stoppage of certain detrimental activity in and around the Dal Lake is concerned, this Court will take an extremely serious view of non-compliance of the directions of this Court,” the court said.

The court observed that LAWDA and other concerned agencies were expected to take robust steps, especially stoppage of certain works which are detrimental to the very existence of the Dal Lake.

“In addition, steps towards increasing public awareness and stopping sewage of effluents reaching the Dal Lake have to be aggressively pursued by the respondents,” the court said.

The court also took “strong exception” by the suggestion in the status report of December 12 by Dr. Abid Rashid Shah, chairman LAWDA, to the effect that chemical fertilizers are not being used by persons cultivating in the floating gardens but that they are using humus organic material.

“The issue is not whether chemical or organic fertilizers are used. Fertilizers of either nature would be extremely conducive to the growth of weeds. Chemical fertilizers or organic fertilizers do not distinguish between weeds or vegetables,” the court said, adding, “Therefore, any fertilizers added in the lake would facilitate growth of weeds as well. The lake does not need the infusion of fertilizers of any kind. The Committee has made very strong recommendations which must be heeded and implemented forthwith.”

The court directed LAWDA to ensure it places the full particulars as were directed by on November 27 before Committee of Experts as well as the Court which inter alia includes the details of the persons undertaking cultivation in the floating gardens; details of licensed houseboat and unlicensed houseboat owners; details of encroachments and their

removal; persons who have been rehabilitated; the details of the properties which have been recovered upon shifting of the persons from the surrounding areas etc.

The court also directed the Department of Tourism and LAWDA to take immediate steps to rectify the deficiencies in a houseboat named “Four Seasons” which is fixed adjacent to the parapet along the lake.

The directions by the court followed perusal of a report filed by Ms. Farah Bashir, appointed by court as an amicus curiae to assist advocate Altaf Naik, highlighting that houseboat belongs to the Tourism Department and its drainage pipes open into the Dal Lake while back side of LAWDA’s Dockyard was being used as a garbage dump.   

 

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