Srinagar: As interim measure after the recent devastating floods in the Valley, the J&K High Court has stayed all constructions on the Jhelum downwards Verinag water spring, the main source of the water body, in south Kashmir.
“We direct that the constructions on the river Jhelum from Verinag downwards shall remain stayed,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.
The court was hearing an application filed by advocate G A Lone on behalf of Qazi Rashid Shams, the petitioner in a Public Interest Litigation, seeking removal of illegal structures on the banks of the Sindh in and other water bodies.
Besides, the court directed that if any construction was underway in world famous Dal Lake, District Magistrate is empowered to demolish the construction in the respective area.
“This would be in addition to the orders which are already passed regarding construction in the vicinity of 200 meters in river Lidder and 100 meters in Dal Lake,” the court said.
In the application, the counsel referred to a news report in a local daily, disclosing, at the instance of Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, the reason for flood in the Valley.
In light of a report by expert committee, the court observed that out of total width of the river, only one by fifth is left out without encroachment.
All the embankments, it observed, have been breached particularly in Anantnag, Bijbhera tehsil and some villages of other tehsils.
In wake of the catastrophic flood in the Valley, the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, report said, has already directed to remove all plantations and encroachments on the embankments and tributaries of Lidder, Jhelum, Arpath, Brengi, Vaishaw, Sandran and Vethroo, etc. within 15 days.
The Deputy Commissioner has further directed that if the encroachers fail to remove the encroachments, the same shall be demolished by Irrigation and Flood Control Department at the expanse of encroachers.