SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed authorities to prepare standard operating procedure (SOP) for maintaining parks and gardens in Srinagar and Jammu city.
Hearing the PIL on Parks and gardens, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice MK Hanjura directed authorities to take immediate steps for creating green spaces around Srinagar and Jammu cities.
The court also passed direction to J&K Government to file a report on whether the parks in Srinagar are adequate in terms of norms of any plan of city.
“We call upon the committee constituted by the government to prepare the SOP and implement the same and file compliance report by or before May 8,” the court said.
“In compliance to order dated 28.12.17 the committee has been constituted by the govt in terms of order no.276-GAD of 2018 dated 20.2.18. However, in terms of order dated 28.12.17 this court has indicated that the standard operating procedure should be prepared so that the parks and gardens for all the four seasons are maintained in the cities of Srinagar and Jammu.”
The court had taken cognizance of a letter by former chief justice and incumbent chairperson of State Human Rights Commission regarding need for earmarking areas for parks and green space in Srinagar city.
Treating the letter, written by Justice (Rtd.) Bilal Nazki to the Chief Justice as a Public Interest Litigation, the division bench had arrayed Commissioner Secretaries of tourism and Housing & Urban Development Department, Director Floriculture, deputy commissioner Srinagar, VC SDA and commissioner SMC as respondents to the PIL and sought their response.
The letter highlights lack of parks and green spaces in the summer capital of the state and drew the attention of the court to need for identifying and earmarking area in each locality of Srinagar for development of a park/green space/urban forest and set a time line within which such work is undertaken and completed by authorities.
It calls for identifying encroachments of earmarked conservation zones for parks and green spaces and forthwith clearance of such encroachments. The letter calls for avoiding “at all costs”, permissions for conversion of land from conservation zone reserved for parks, green spaces or urban forest to residential or commercial establishments.
“The issues by the former chief justice in his letter are very important to each and every resident of the cities of Srinagar and Jammu. The State Government, it appears has ignored the pertinent issues raised by a dignitary of the status of former Chief Justice, which is clear from the facts that the government has not even care to respond to the communication of the high court,” the court had observed.