Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed authorities to file a comprehensive status report, indicating compliance to its directions regarding the conservation of Wullar Lake.
“On perusal of the record available, it appears that the respondents have not taken any steps towards the implementation of directions issued from time to time including the directions on September 11, 2013 and December 2, 2013,” a division bench of Justices Hasnain Massodi and Dhiraj Singh Thakur said while hearing a Public Interest Litigation—Kashmir Environment Protection Vs State of J&K and others.
The bench said it would be appropriate to direct the respondents to file a comprehensive and detailed status report steps take on the conservation of one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. However, it excluded the Government of India from filing the compliance to its direction on posting an expert to oversee the implementation of the conservation work of the Lake after Assistant Solicitor General S A Makroo stated that a Special Leave Petition has been filed before the Supreme Court of India to this extent.
Last year, the High Court had asked National River Conservation (NRC), which is a directorate working under the Environment and Forests, Government of India to identify a suitable person to be stationed at Srinagar to oversee the implementation of Wullar Lake Conservation Project.
The High Court had asked NRC to spare the expert on deputation for the conservation of the Lake, declining its plea that the directorate was facing shortage of the specialists.
Among other directions, the court had asked government to file status regarding the suggestion on having a full-fledged department for preservation and conservation of all water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.
The suggestion for one authority to deal with all the water bodies was put forward by Amicus Curie in Public Interest Litigation PIL, senior advocate Z A Shah.
Shah had suggested that the full-fledged department would be better than creating a body which is locally assigned the work of a particular lake, like LAWDA (Lakes and Waterways Development Authority) for Dal lake, and Wullar Conservation and Management Authority for Wullar Lake.
“The authority shall comprise mostly experts so as to ensure it takes all the care water bodies entail,” Shah had said emphasizing that one administrative department would also avoid litigations like PILs.