HC pulls up revenue authorities for ‘hiding’ record on wetlands

HC pulls up revenue authorities for ‘hiding’ record on wetlands
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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the state government for taking demarcation of wetlands seriously and directed the revenue department to file response for not being able to present the revenue record of the wetlands.
The division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while hearing public interest litigation directed the deputy commissioners of Srinagar and Ganderbal to file response on why the revenue department has not produced relevant records to Lakes and Water Development Authority (LAWDA), Srinagar for carrying demarcation process of wetlands and other lakes like Anchar, Gilsar and Khushalsar.
The VC-LAWDA who was present in the court said the demarcation of the wetlands and other water bodies has not been done because the revenue department is yet to provide revenue maps of the water bodies.
However, as per the previous court directions, LAWDA presented the maps of survey.
He said the revenue maps have to be superimposed with the survey maps so that actual boundaries of the wetlands could be identified and the department could move forward for demarcation.
The VC told the court that awareness campaign will be started for ‘saving water bodies’ by December 1.
“Local themes will be introduced and door to door campaign will be started. This campaign will be a continuous process and we are ready with the plan,” he said.
The court directed that common people should be made aware of the developments.
Amicus curie, advocate Zaffar Shah also suggested the involvement of media, “Everyone should come together for the social responsibility. The students, NGOs, houseboat owners, Dal dwellers, experts and even common people should be part of this campaign so that we can at least make ourselves aware about our present condition of water bodies,” he said.
The court observed that the Monitoring Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee have not been conducting meetings as per the court orders and described the attitude as “unfortunate”.
“Dal Lake has to be taken as project of the state. It has to be saved. But government is not taking it seriously,” the court observed.
According to LAWDA, selective de-weeding, control over discharge of waste and retrieval of chocked springs will improve the quality of lake. 56 springs out of 74 springs have been retrieved as per the report of LAWDA.
Meanwhile, a fresh application was filed by Syed Tahir Iqbal Geelani who has also filed PIL on Dal Lake way back in 2002.


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