SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday came down heavily on the state government for not complying court orders and directed the state to submit report on measures taken to save river Jhelum and other water bodies, within ten days.
On previous hearing, court had directed the authorities to do immediate demarcation of wildlife forests, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation reserves. It had also asked for report on inter-connection between different water bodies and wetlands.
The division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Alok Aradhe observed that government hasn’t made any effort and are taking court directions lightly.
Justice Durrez said, “It appears that the concerned authorities are not complying with the court orders. We must remind them that court is not powerless and can pass strict actions against them.”
Granting the authorities a final opportunity, the court directed them to comply with the orders within 10 days.
Previously, Commissioner Secretary Forest was appointed as nodal authority to ensure that demarcation be carried out.
“We direct commissioner secretary Forest Department to be present in the court on next hearing,” ordered the court.
Meanwhile, environmental lawyer Nadeem Qadri stated before the court that Padshahi canal, an age-old irrigation passage which lies at Nallah Sindh near Wayil Bridge in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir is being encroached and nothing has been done to prevent it.
Advocate Qadri submitted that the canal is fast reducing and only three to five feet of the canal is left.
The court directed the state to submit a report about Padshahi canal on the next hearing.
Regarding Hokarsar Lake, he said that accumulation of weeds has stopped and migratory birds are making way to the lake.
He further said that since a few days some birds have been poached in Dal Lake.
The court remarked that poaching of birds is not acceptable and authorities must ensure strict action against people involved in poaching.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Peer Noor-ul-Haq, seeking directions to remove encroachments to restore Padshahi canal.
Later, High Court expanded the purview of the PIL and issued directions for safeguarding the river Jhelum, the lifeline of Kashmir Valley.