SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to file response to the report presented by court commissioners on the status of national highways in Kashmir on next hearing.
The court commissioners informed that Public Works Department (PWD) was not fully cooperating with them and during the commissioners’ visit at various places, they found the roads in bad shape and construction material scattered all around.
Hearing public interest litigation in this regard, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Alok Aradhe directed the PWD (R&B) to fully cooperate with court commissioners. He said the court has got an impression that officials do not want the correct information to reach to the court.
The court said, “In case we heard officials of PWD (R&B) are not cooperating with court commissioners, we will issue contempt notice against them on next hearing.
Meanwhile, the maps presented by state government for the five national highways-Srinagar-Sonamarg, Sumbal- Bandipora, Srinagar- Sopore, Awantipora-Tral and Srinagar-Galandar were not properly indicative. The court directed the state authorities to come up with proper maps on next hearing.
For Srinagar-Sonmarg, Srinagar-Sopore court directed PWD (R&B) and BRO to file response to court commissioner’s report with photographic evidence.
For Lal Chowk-Galandar stretch of the highway, the court directed the chief engineer PWD to submit detailed status report as the particular road is reportedly in bad condition.
For Awantipora-Tral, we are informed that road is relatively in good condition but slow pace of road-widening has been reported to the court. We direct PWD to file report on the same on next hearing.
For Srinagar-Qazigund, we are informed that big potholes and construction material is lying on the road. The court said that soon after the macadamizing process is completed on a road, another agency arrives and vandalizes it. “This is not to be done. We direct concerned departments to fully cooperate and file report on next hearing,” the court said.
The court remarked that the report submitted by court commissioners indicates that there is lot more work needed to be done for betterment of roads and we feel bad that state officials are not cooperating for the same.
“For enhancing tourism, we don’t need not peaceful atmosphere alone but also good roads and other facilities,” Chief Justice said.
The court made orders after observing that Public Works Department (PWD) and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Bandipora Development Authority (BRO) are not complying with the previous court orders.
“If authorities will not further comply with the court orders, strict action will be passed against them,” the court said.
The PIL seeks directions for repairing the highway especially from Banihal to Srinagar and Srinagar to Baramulla. However, the court widened the scope of the petition to encompass roads across the Valley.