Srinagar: Amidst claims and counter claims about adequate supplies of essentials to flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court of India Wednesday appointed a five-member committee to ascertain the ground situation in the state.
The committee, to be headed by Senior Registrar of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, has been asked to file its report within two weeks.
Hearing clubbed petitions, a division bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha directed that besides the Senior Registrar, to be nominated by the Chief Justice of the Jammu Kashmir, the members shall comprise Secretary, Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation (Government of Jammu and Kashmir), Nominee of the Union of India (to be intimated by the Attorney General within three days) and presidents of J&K High Court Bar Association at Srinagar and Jammu respectively.
“The Registrar who is nominated to the Committee will be (its) Convenor,” the court said and asked the panel to inspect all the affected areas and submit the interim report before it as well as the High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by two lawyers—advocates G A Lone and Jahangir Iqbal Ganie.
The bench said that the High Court can also pass order on the basis of the report and the case pending before it would not be an impediment in its way to pass appropriate order.
The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Fali Nariman, passed the directions after hearing counsel of parties who made counter claims about situation existing on the ground.
The petitioners—Prof Bhim Singh and Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi— submitted that large population of Srinagar and other districts of the State continue to suffer as there was no adequate supply of drinking water; doctors and medicines are not available; quite a few areas continue to be inundated as the effective de-watering exercise has not been undertaken; epidemic has set in, etc.
On the other hand, Gaurav Pachnanda, Additional Advocate General for the State, submits that as of now there was total supply of 107.98 MGD in ten districts of the Valley out of total requirement of 142.33 MGD.
He submits that shortfall of drinking water was 34.35 MGD and is being made up by providing water through water tankers. Moreover, he said, Reverse Osmosis Plants are likely to be made functional within ten days.
Within 72 hours, he said, the shortfall of drinking water will be made up and, in case any further steps are needed, it would be taken without any delay.
Earlier, the court while expressing satisfaction over the relief and rehabilitation work done by the state government and New Delhi, questioned the petitioners for taking differing stands on the issue as one of the them said that the state government was not doing anything while the other contended that National Conference was taking all the credit for work as the election is due.
“If an election is due in few months then can you expect state government to sit idle. It would go an extra mile to reach the people and to ensure that people get relief,” the bench said. The court posted the cases for further consideration on October 10. (With inputs from PTI)