Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday directed the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) and other departments concerned to remove fresh illegal structures constructed in and around the Dal Lake. The court sought a status report on these directions on the next date of hearing.
The court also directed the Superintendent of Police Hazratbal to assist LAWDA in removing the illegal structures. More than 200 illegal structures have come up in and around the lake stretching from Ashai Bagh to Rainawari, the court commissioner, Advocate Sajad Mir, informed.
A powerpoint presentation made by the court commissioner highlighted a gory state of the lake where fresh constructions have come up inside the lake as well as on its peripheries. Not only this, concrete pathways and small dhabas and business outlets are flourishing in the lake with authorities watching as mute spectators, Advocate Sajad Mir told the court.
The photographs and videos presented by the counsel showed new constructions of two-storey and three-storey houses built amid open lake. The photographs also showed sewage outlets flowing in the lake from houseboats as well as houses that are built on the peripheries of the Dal.
The counsel informed the court that 25 new structures have been built on the Ashai Bagh stretch alone, and no action has been taken to stop this.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey asked why court orders are awaited every time for any action to be taken.
“We will visit the Dal anytime. If we find you have not done your work, we will take you to task,” Chief Justice Badar Durrez warned.
A water analysis report submitted to the court by the State Pollution Control Board was directed to be handed over to LAWDA for necessary action. The court observed that there was a need for a modern laboratory where water analysis can be properly done.
The court said that on the previous hearing LAWDA had stated that lilies would be removed from Dal within one month, but nothing much had been done so far.
“From time to time we are passing orders and state is not complying properly. An opportunity is granted to LAWDA to wipe out lilies from the lake within three months and no further time will be granted after that,” the court said.
The recommendations presented by the Scientific Advisory Committee before the court stated that de-weeding needs to be carried on regular basis. It stressed that lilies must go and the removal should be done manually as well as through machines. Motorboats and other eqiupment was needed for proper cleaning of the lake, the committee said.
In response to this, the Vice-Chairman of LAWDA told the court that more motorboats have been ordered and are likely to come soon. He said that the work of removal of lilies has started and the first patch will be cleared within a month. The entire lake will be cleared of lilies within three months, he said.