Srinagar: The High Court on Thursday ordered the government to take immediate measures to remove encroachments and stop constructions within 200 metres of the Wular Lake.
The Court of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta made it clear that there is no excuse at all for dumping garbage within the identified boundaries of Asia’s largest fresh water lake.
“The respondents are bound to and shall ensure that no garbage at all is dumped within the boundaries or within such distance of the lake as is mandated by the law as well as the international and national protocols of the area. Every step in this regard shall be undertaken to ensure that there is no pollution of the Lake,” ordered the division bench.
The court recorded that during a visit, attention was drawn to encroachments which have come up within the boundaries and on the banks of the Wular Lake, in any case within 200 metres of the Lake.
“The respondents shall immediately take necessary steps for removal of the encroachments within the boundary and vicinity of Wular Lake and
no construction activity shall be permitted or come up within 200 metres of the boundaries of the Wular Lake,” the court directed.
Meantime Faizan-ul-Haq Iqbal, Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Baramulla through video conferencing informed the court that a committee of the officials of the Revenue Department, Flood Control and Irrigation Department and the Forest Department, have identified the land in Baramulla as well as Sopore for creation of a Solid Waste landfill.
“The court after hearing the official directed that no obstruction shall be caused by any person to the setting up of this site. Police shall ensure provision of adequate security to enable setting up of the garbage dumping sites,” the court ordered.
The court also directed the respondents to undertake the awareness drive in the area to educate people in devising the generation of work, solid and liquid waste, as also preventing garbage dumping and littering of the area.
“The District Legal Services Authority shall facilitate such drives in coordination with the District Authorities,” said the bench.
The court was also informed that the issue of setting of the lake is a huge problem. Steps for dredging are being taken to ensure the lake’s capacity.
The court noted that orders passed (PIL No. 159/2002 Syed Iqbal Tahir Geelani v. State of J&K and others, a Committee of Experts (CoE) stands constituted by us which is guiding the measures for preservation and protection of the Dal Lake.
The court recorded that the problems about the Wular Lake (as also other lakes in Jammu and Kashmir) appear to be similar.
“Let the Wular Lake authority identify the issues, the steps underway as well as proposed; discuss the same with the CoE and seek its guidance on the same,” court directed.
The court will again hear the matter on November 26.