Srinagar: The J&K High Court Thursday directed recently appointed high level ‘Committee of Experts’ to visit Dal Lake and present their report before court suggesting measures for saving the lake. The court will again hear the matter on 25 November.
The court also appointed Mangu Singh, Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in place of one expert member namely E. Sreedharan who has expressed his inability to help court in the matter.
On the previous hearing the court said it was necessary to have an expert committee with, most importantly the vision and the experience of having successfully undertaken projects and issues which involve wide spectrum, multi-dimensional, multi authority evaluations and resolutions.
Hearing the PIL on conservation of Dal Lake which is pending before court from 16 years, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe expressed hope that the expert committee would start their work on Dal and suggest ways to conserve the beautiful lake.
The bench remarked that already lot of time and money has been spent on the lake but on ground the visibility of the effort is not what it should be.
“So direction is passed to recently appointed expert committee to visit the lake and file their report before court for further necessary action,” the court ordered. Direction was also passed to Amicus Curie Zaffar Shah to assist the court in the matter and suggest measures that would be helpful in tackling out the conservation process of the lake.
The court had appointed three member experts namely Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, former chairperson Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and member, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Dr Nivedita P Haran, former additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Govt. of Kerala, and M C Mehta, a renowned environmentalist, who hails from J&K. Sreedharan has now been replaced by Mangu Singh.
The terms of reference of the Committee of Experts are (a) ascertaining the status of the Dal Lake; (b) ascertaining all measures required to be undertaken for its restoration, maintenance and preservation as well as all ancillary issues including securing the banks of the Dal Lake; (c) re-settlement, relocation and rehabilitation of persons residing or carrying on business on its banks or in the Dal Lake (say in Houseboats etc.,) and their rehabilitation. (d)Drawing of strict time lines from issuance of NITs to completion of work and monitoring the execution. (e) Digital mapping of the Lake and land concerned with the project, if already undertaken at different times, shall be placed before the Committee of Experts. (f) Digital monitoring as would be directed by Committee of Expert would be undertaken. (g)Any other issue or matter noted by the Committee as being in the interest of the Dal Lake.
The court had further directed that the Committee shall undertake a comprehensive review of the steps taken so far by the Monitoring Committee as well as the Vigilance Committee with regard to all matters relating to the Dal Lake including the points noted by it in order dated September 10, 2018 and assess their efficacy, adequacy and efficiency.
The court noted that the Committee is empowered to appoint any national or international experts they deem necessary to facilitate its task.