Examine Possibility Of Declaring Dal Lake As ‘Eco Sensitive Zone’: HC 

SRINAGAR —The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked State government to examine the possibility of formally declaring the Dal Lake as an “Eco Sensitive Zone” and asked Surveyor General of India to undertake a survey of the water body, a flagship of Kashmir’s tourism, within four weeks. 

After hearing expert committee comprising Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, Dr. Nivedita P. Haran, Dr. Mangu Singh and M. C. Mehta and viewing a detailed power point presentation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan passed other slew of directions and includes developing the Dole Demb, where houseboats have been asked to be shifted earlier, as a Tourist Centre. 

“We hereby issue a direction to the Surveyor General of India, Survey Office Dehradun, to undertake a survey of the Dal Lake in Srinagar; examine all available maps; draw linkage to existing revenue maps and place a report regarding the demarcation of the boundry of the Dal Lake,” the court said and ordered that such exercise be completed within four weeks. The court said  it shall be the responsibility of the Secretary Revenue to place all available maps and the revenue maps available with the Surveyor General of India within one week. 

“In this regard a direction is issued to the State Government and LAWDA to facilitate examination of the boundaries to be undertaken by the Surveyor General of India.”

The LAWDA, the court said, shall submit an inventory of the land owned by it to the Committee of Experts as well as measures which would be undertaken to protect the same. “The State Government shall formulate a proper policy for rehabilitation of the Dal Dewllers of and along with the Dal Lake which need to be rehabilitated in order to ensure protection and life of the Dal. This matter be examined by the Chief Secretary of the State and a report in this regard be also placed before the Committee of Experts at the earliest.”

A report shall be submitted by the Department of Tourism of the State as well as LAWDA regarding the unregistered house boats on the Dal Lake and the manner in which they would be removed, the court said in other direction. “The State Government shall also examine the possibility of formally declaring the Dal Lake area as an Eco Sensitive Zone under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.”

In this regard, the court asked Secretary of the Department of Forest and Environment to place a report before the Committee of Experts within four weeks. .

“The Secretary Department of Tourism, shall also examine the suggestions of the Committee of Experts for developing the Dole Demb as a Tourist Centre. All measures suggested by the Committee of Experts in this regard shall be seriously examined and report submitted to the Committee of Experts.”

The court said from the examination of the report of the Committee that there have been three changes in the appointment of Vice Chairman LAWDA within last six months. 

“The work being undertaken by LAWDA is of extremely serious nature and it needs continuity in leadership of experienced and sufficient seniority to enable control over not only the organization but also ability to interact with other Government departments,” the court observed and ordered: “We would, therefore, request the Chief Secretary to look into the matter of appointment of Vice Chairman, LAWDA, who would be an officer of sufficient seniority and experience on a continuous tenure.”

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the court appreciated the work and intervention of the members of the Committee of Experts especially the power point presentation made before it and said that it has “greatly enlightened the Court.” 

 

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