Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed the Surveyor General of India to undertake a survey of the Dal Lake in Srinagar and place a report within four weeks.
The court directed the Surveyor General, who is based at the Survey of India’s head office in Dehradun, to examine all available maps and draw a linkage with existing revenue maps to demarcate the boundary of Dal Lake.
“Such exercise shall be completed within four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order,” the court directed.
The court said, “It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary, Revenue, to place all available maps and revenue maps with the Surveyor General of India within one week from the date of receipt of this order.”
Also, a direction was issued to the J&K Government and Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to facilitate examination of the lake’s boundaries by the Surveyor General of India.
“LAWDA shall submit an inventory of the land owned by it to the Committee of Experts as well as measures which would be undertaken to protect the same,” the court noted in the order.
The court directed the State Government to formulate a proper policy for rehabilitation of dwellers of and along the Dal Lake. “This matter to be examined by the Chief Secretary of the State and a report in this regard be also placed before the Committee of Experts at the earliest,” the court directed.
The court asked for a report from the J&K Department of Tourism as well as from LAWDA regarding unregistered houseboats on the Dal Lake and the manner in which they would be removed.
“The State Government shall also examine the possibility of formally declaring the Dal Lake area as an Eco Sensitive Zone under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The Secretary of the Department of Forest and Environment shall place a report in this regard before the Committee of Experts within four weeks,” the court directed.
The committee of experts comprising Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, Dr Nivedita P Haran, Dr Mangu Singh, and MC Mehta were present in the court today and made detailed power point presentation indicating suggestions and measures for saving the lake.
“The recommendations made by the Committee in its 5th Report are accepted and all the authorities shall take prompt and expeditious steps to implement the same,” the court directed.
It also directed the Secretary, Department of Tourism, to examine the suggestions of the Committee of Experts for developing Dole Demb as a Tourist Centre.
“All measures suggested by the Committee of Experts in this regard shall be seriously examined and report submitted to the Committee of Experts,” the court said.
With respect to appointment of VC LAWDA, the court said, “We find from the examination of the report of the Committee that there have been three changes in the appointment of Vice Chairman LAWDA within last six months. The work being undertaken by LAWDA is of extremely serious nature and it needs continuity in leadership of experienced and sufficient seniority to enable control over not only the organisation but also ability to interact with other Government departments. We would, therefore, request the Chief Secretary to look into the matter of appointment of Vice Chairman, LAWDA, who would be an officer of sufficient seniority and experience on a continuous tenure.”
The court also noted, “We appreciate the work and intervention of the members of the Committee of Experts today, especially the power point presentation made before us, which has greatly enlightened this Court.”
The case will be again taken up on May 15.