HC asks GoI to release Rs 30 crore for Wullar conservation

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed government of India to file a status report regarding release of Rs 30 crore meant for conservation of Wullar lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The direction by a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Hasnain Massodi followed submissions by advocate General M I Qadri and Assistant Solicitor General S A Makroo.
Qadri stated that works in accordance with approved Action Plan are in the progress of being executed. He said that various tenders have been issued but the funds have not been released.
“The minimum expenditure of 2/3rd of the allotments is a condition (set by GoI) for release of second instalment of Rs 30 crore,” he said, adding, “Wullar Conservation and Management Authority have submitted utilization certificate on December 31 last year but the funds as yet have not been released by the government of India.”
ASG S A Makroo submitted that government of India on examining the utilization certificate will consider release of Rs 30 crore.
“Same is required to be done at earliest so that execution of works in accordance with the approved Action Plan is not in any manner adversely affected,” the bench said and asked ASG Makroo to file status report on the next date about the release of funds.
Earlier, Advocate General gave break of the outlay of the total funds for conservation of the lake, stating that for survey and demarcation, Rs 1.5 crore has been received.
Similarly, he said, Rs 7.30 crore is meant for catchment conservation, Rs 20.75 crore for water management and Rs 0.45 crore for institutional management.
From the total Rs 30 crore, Qadri said, 2079.41 lakhs have been utilized while tenders have been floated for execution of the remaining work under approved Action Plan.
Amicus curie and senior advocate Z A Shah submitted that comprehensive Management Action Plan for lake was approved in 2007. As per the plan, he said, works were to complete within a period of five years which could not fructify.
Therefore, he said, for implementation of the Action Plan fresh time-frame has to be fixed.
To this Advocate General submitted that due to delay in release of funds, the plan execution got delayed and it was only in 2012 that various works were taken up for execution.
“It being so, the concerned authorities shall take up the matter at their respective levels so as to re-fix five years time for execution of works commencing from year 2012,” the bench directed.
It also directed that the approved Management Action Plan has to be implemented in a systematic manner. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation—Kashmir Environment Protection Vs State of J&K and others.