SRINAGAR The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday issued notice to state government on encroachment at the source of Jehlum river, dumping of wastes and inadequacy of drainage system in Kashmir Valley.
A division bench of the court issued notice on the PIL, registered following a communication on June 12 which was sent by the Greater Verinag civil Society, an NGO.
The matter is concerned with the encroachment at the source of Jehlum River; dumping of wastes and inadequacy of drainage system, the court said and impleaded State of J&K through Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, State of J&K through Secretary to Government, Tourism Department, Srinagar.
And Chief Executive Officer, Verinag Development Authority as party respondents.
The court issued notice to these respondents and for state, senior additional advocate generals B. A. Dar accepted notice while Irfan Andleep, Dy. AG accepted notice for CEO Verinag Development Authority.
The court ordered that a copy of the communication by the NGO be provided to both the counsels to enable them to file status reports within four weeks.
Earlier this year, the civil Society members from Shahabad Verinag staged a protest against the failure of authorities to stop encroachments near the source of Verinag.
The originating spot of River Jehlum was 180 feet wide but it has shrunk to 30 feet only due to unabated encroachments. The irony is that even lavatories have been set near the source of the Jehlum while the concerned departments particularly Verinag Development Authority and Municipal Committee Dooru Verinag are in slumber and act like ostrich, they had said during a press at press colony here in February this year.
Despite court directions, authorities have failed to remove these encroachments. On the directions of Divisional Commissioner, the SDM Dooru had constituted a committee to dismantle these illegal structures, but that committee never worked on ground, they said.
The High Court after devastating 204 floods had underscored the need to restore the originating point of the Jhelum to its original width. However, they said, the authorities including Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Public Health Engineering Department, Verinag Development Authority and Municipal Committee Dooru Verinag have miserably failed to take measures for removal of encroachments there.
The protesting Civil Society members had appealed environmentalists and conscious citizens of Kashmir Valley to raise their voices against this tragedy.
These hutments have disfigured the beauty of the Jehlum while the filth emanating from lavatories have been polluting the water. The concerned officials should be questioned and taken to task, they had demanded.
Meanwhile, the court also issued notice to Union of India through Director General Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and State of J&K through Director, Archives, Archaeological & Museums on a communication received by the court from Mohammad Shafi Pandit. Assistant Solicitor General of India Tahir Majid Shamsi and Senior AGG BA Dar accepted the notice.
The court also directed that the copy of the communication be made available to both the counsels who may file the status report within four weeks. The court ordered posting of the matter on August 28.