Srinagar: The High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to present detailed maps of national highway networks across Kashmir in the next hearing.
The court said that the updated report should indicate distance as well as jurisdiction.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Civil Society Tral through advocate G N Shaheen, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Sanjeev Kumar remarked that reports regarding national highway roads must be brought before court.
It said that five national highway roads, Srinagar-Sonamarg, Sumbal- Bandipora, Srinagar- Sopore, Awantipora-Tral and Srinagar-Galandar should be properly analyzed by court appointed commissioners.
“We direct court commissioners and officials of various departments to come with updated status report of these highways,” the court said.
The court also appointed nodal officers from various departments to work with court commissioners for submission of reports within three weeks.
“In order to see efforts of court commissioners and officials of various departments, nodal officers from the concerned government department are appointed to submit the report within three weeks,” Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed said.
The court issued the orders after observing that Public Works Department (PWD) and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Bandipora Development Authority (BRO) were not complying with the previous court orders.
“If authorities will not further comply with the court orders, strict action will be passed against them,” the court said.
Previously, the court had constituted teams of lawyers as court commissioners and directed them to inspect and oversee the conditions of various roads in Kashmir Valley.
The court was informed that the concerned departments- NHAI, PWD R&B were not cooperating with the court commissioners. For Srinagar Sonamarg section, lawyers Bhat Fayaz and Asif Ali had been tasked to inform the court about the upgradation of the road project under National Highway Authority of India.
Similarly, the court observed that BRO was not cooperating as well.
For Bandipora to Sumbal section, which comes under BRO, lawyers Bhat Fayaz and N A Malik were tasked to oversee the road stretch with concerned officials.
For Srinagar to Sopore, advocates B A Zargar and Shafkat Nazir were appointed to inspect the condition of the road stretch and report to the court but court found that none of the court commissioners were present.
“As such, we have no status report, Court appoints Advocate Ateeb Kanth as commissioner and directs him to file the status report regarding the road on next hearing.”
From Awantipora to Tral, two lawyers M Amin Khan and Shabir Ahman Bhat were appointed to inspect the road and report to the court.
The court asked court commissioners to submit the updated report regarding the road as PWD and R&B are not working.
Regarding Srinagar- Galandar Road, the court said that section of Lal Chowk- Srinagar- Galandar is in bad condition. The court directed PWD and R&B department to ensure that road is properly repaired.
In one of the status reports, J&K’s Inspector General of Police Traffic had stated that the reason behind traffic mess is decrepit roads.
The PIL seeks directions for repairing the highway especially from Banihal to Srinagar and Srinagar to Baramulla. However, the court widened the scope of the petition to encompass roads across the Valley.