STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe directed State to file Action Taken Report (ATR) on affidavit giving the time-line in which the encroachments shall be removed and the dredging of the River Jhelum (which is the essential requirement to ensure the life and liberty of the citizens) is undertaken.
This significant direction has been passed in two Public Interest Litigations including the one filed by Environment Policy Group which sought directions for removing encroachments and carrying out dredging of Jhelum and other water bodies in Kashmir. The petition pleaded that encroachments of Jhelum and other water bodies caused a devastating flood in 2014.
The DB further said that this report shall be filed within two weeks from today and the affidavit shall be sworn and signed by the Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Srinagar, who shall be held responsible, if the tasks are not completed and filed within the time-line informed to us.
The directions were issued after perusing status report filed by the chief engineer. The court termed as meaningless the figures of structures mentioned in the compliance report filed on March 8, 2018. The report attested 106 Pucca as well as Kucha structures, 61 boundary walls having been demolished and 1,04, 573 trees removed from banks of river bodies.
Pointing out that these figures are meaningless without position on the ground being disclosed, the Court directed the respondents to file a fresh status report disclosing total number of Pucca and Kucha structures, boundary walls which have been identified for removal.
DB ordered that location of such structures be indicated on plan with colour coding and authorities concerned shall also indicate on the plan the area of the land which has been recovered after removal of Pucca and Kucha structures.
The court issued directions after Advocate Shafqat Nazir drew its attention to an order dated February 7, 2018 whereby specific information was required to be filed by authorities concerned.
The Court was also informed that out of 7,00,000 cubic meters of river Jhelum to be dredged in Srinagar, 5,53,479 cubic meters was dredged while in Baramulla out of 9,15,000 cubic meters, 555000 was dredged.
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