Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday sought explanation from the Secretary, Jal Shakti department, as well as Chief Engineer, Superintending Engineer and Assistant Engineer of the department as to why there had been a delay in supply of water to the population of Kokernag if the scheme was sanctioned in 2013.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said, “At this stage, while noticing the benefit of scheme for the supply of water to each household of Kokernag, the court considers it proper to pass appropriate orders, but while doing so, the court also seeks personal affidavit of the Secretary to Government, Jal Shakti (PHE), department, as also the Chief Engineer, Superintending Engineer and Assistant Executive Engineer, Jal Shakti (PHE) department, as to why the scheme, which is sanctioned in the year 2013, for supply of water to the huge population of Kokernag, got delayed for about seven long years.”
Justice Magrey said that the officials owe an explanation as not only the public exchequer but also public interest is involved.
“The appellants while filing such affidavit shall indicate the steps taken by them from time to time for ensuring the completion of scheme for supply of quality water to the area covered under the scheme,” the court directed.
Meantime, the court stayed the order, till next hearing, passed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Anantnag, in a civil suit titled Mohammad Hussain Patoo and Anr. Vs. UT of JK and Ors on 6 Feburary, 2020, wherein a fresh tender notice for water scheme supply notified by authorities was stayed after the petitioner had submitted that earlier the department had handed him the contract for laying of the water pipelines in the Kokernag area.
Justice Magrey noted that the approach adopted by the trial court in staying the e-tender notice was without realising that it would have the effect of stalling the implementation of the water supply scheme.
“The PHE officials shall ensure completion of the tender process by or before the next date of hearing and apprise the court about the result. The appellants as also the Chief Engineer, Jal Shakti (PHE), Department, shall file affidavit, as directed, well before the next date of hearing,” the court directed.
The court also called for the trial records while directing the Registry to ensure that the records so called are obtained by asking Principal District and Sessions Judge, Anantnag, to send the same by special messenger/ process server.