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HC directs removal of illegally constructed police station

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Srinagar November 05: The High Court today directed the deputy commissioner (DC) Kulgam to remove a police station constructed in violation of law on an irrigation canal in Qaimuh Kulgam.

A division bench comprising Justices A M Magray and Rashid Ali Dar directed: “DC Kulgam shall ensure that no construction is raised on the irrigation canal and in case it is found that any construction is raised on spot, the same shall be removed”.

Initiating suo moto proceedings following directions of the Supreme Court of India on the survival of wetlands in the country, the High Court was informed today by G A Lone (counsel in a related petition) that the DC Kulgam was directed to visit Qaimuh where a police station has been constructed on the land belonging to an irrigation canal.

The counsel said that the Commissioner had been directed to take steps for the removal of the illegal police station.

“He has not taken any step for elimination of this police encroachment” he said.

The court accordingly directed removal of the intrusion.

The High Court had previously directed the state government to file a report on steps being taken for preservation of wetlands in the state.

The High Court filled a PIL (suo motu) after the Supreme Court on April 3, 2017 directed all high courts to monitor the progress and management of wetland areas besides monitoring public funds spent for this purpose by the government.

The Centre was also asked to take adequate measures for preservation of the nearly 2 lakh wetlands in the country.

M K Balakrishanan, a petitioner in the Supreme Court has stated that there is a possibility that some of the wetlands may disappear with the passage of time, due to neglect and indifference by the authorities, who may connive at constant encroachment.

The J&K High Court accordingly directed the state government to include all the 1230 wetlands existing in the state for consideration of preservation and sustainable use in addition to the wetlands identified under Ramsar Convention.

J&K has only a few wetlands including, Hokersar, Wular, Mansar and Tso Moriri treated as spots of international heritage under Ramsar Convention on wetlands.

The Court observed that the importance of preservation of wetlands and water bodies cannot be underestimated.

A regulatory mechanism for all the wetlands should be set up so as to maintain their ecological character and ultimately support their integrated management in the three regions of the state, it advised.

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