Srinagar: For the past 16 years, the progress made on conservation and restoration of the Dal Lake has been far from satisfactory, the High Court told state authorities in yet another reprimand on Thursday.
“It is time to fix responsibility on the concerned authorities so as to ensure the court passes effective orders in the matter, so that a change on ground level can be seen rather than people holding meetings inside their offices,” a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Hanjura said Thursday hearing the matter.
“Taking into account the petition for restoration and conservation of Dal Lake, which is pending before court for the past 16 years, in which effective measures are yet to be taken to clean the water body, we deem it proper to direct concerned authorities to submit in tabular form the directions passed by the court on this matter since 2002; the stage of implementation of these directions passed; the time frame in which these directions will be carried (out); and also the future course of action that is to be taken into this matter,” the bench said.
The court granted four weeks to state authorities and also to the petitioners to file their respective reports.
The court passed these orders after remarking that for the past 16 years, the progress made on de-weeding the lake as well as removal of encroachments and preventing of pollution in the lake has been far from satisfactory.
The court said that despite the constitution of a state-level monitoring committee, the progress on restoration of the Dal was unsatisfactory and showed the lack of will on the part of the executive to take effective measures.
The equipment for cleaning the lake was to be procured by the month of March, but it still had not been procured, the court observed. Worse, the draft of the proposed legislation to conserve the lake was lying with the state government for the past one year, the court said.
Amicus Curiae Zaffar Shah in his arguments before the court on Wednesday had stated: “We have all failed to conserve Dal Lake and the responsibility lies on our shoulders for its deterioration.”
He informed the bench that since 2002, hundreds of brilliant orders were passed by the court which have accumulated to seven volumes, yet nothing much has been achieved so far.
He suggested that all the commissioner secretaries including the Chief Secretary be summoned before the court and a full court be constituted to achieve the goal for which the instant PIL was filed 16 years ago.
He submitted that all the committees which have been constituted by the government or directed to be constituted by the court have become useless and defunct as only paper work is being done and nothing on the ground level.
He further informed the court that there was lack of commitment, sincerity and will on the part of the government.