SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has directed commissioner secretary Irrigation and Flood Control department to provide details of all the engineers, from the rank of junior engineers to chief engineers, who were posted in the areas along the course of the Jhelum, from 1996.
“The place of posting with the tenure of posting be also provided,” a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey said and directed the officer to provide complete addresses of all these engineers to the court’s Registry within four weeks.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Molvi Peer Noor-ul-Haq, seeking court’s intervention to restore the Padshahi canal to its original width.
While hearing the petition, the court also brought Jhelum and other water bodies under its purview.
The bench said that it will consider the reply filed to show cause notices by engineers posted in the areas along the course of the Padshahi canal, in subsequent hearing in the PIL.
The engineers have filed their response to court’s notice, which had asked them to explain why they should not deposit Rs 25 lakh each for dereliction of duty in regard to maintaining and preserving of Padshahi canal, an age-old irrigation passage which runs from nallah Sindh near Wayil bridge in Ganderbal district and passes through some parts of Srinagar.
In the past two decades, it has shrunk from 27 feet to 3-5 feet in width.
The court also exempted two former engineers, Abdul Majid and Manzoor Ahmad, from personal appearance before the court till further orders on account of their old age.
In another direction, the court repeated all the directions issued by it from the time to time in the case.
Among others, the authorities have been asked to file fortnightly status reports about the removal of encroachments from water bodies including the Jhelum.
The government has also been directed to inform the court on how the water bodies are being protected after the removal of encroachments.
It also directed deputy commissioners of Anantnag and Pulwama to file fresh status report about the latest action taken in removing the encroachments.
“IGP Kashmir range shall provide all necessary assistance to all the authorities that are removing the encroachments from Jehlum, canals and water bodies,” the court said and directed to post the PIL for further consideration on 5 November.