Rashid Paul

HC directs relocation, rehabilitation of Dal dwellers

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Srinagar: J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the government to prepare a road map for appropriate relocation and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers and rearrangement of the house boats registered with the state agencies.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on Dal lake, the terminally sick urban lake of Kashmir, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed the concerned authorities to prepare a road map for proper relocation and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers.

The bench also directed the authorities to relocate and realign the house boats in the lake which are registered with the Lakes and Water Ways Authority (LAWDA).

The bench directed the authorities to develop the shifting place of Dal dwellers on modern lines on the pattern of contemporary townships and equip it with all the required facilities for habitation.

The judges examined the report of Committee of Experts on the lake and said that the report reflects the tremendous efforts being put in by the Committee of Experts. They appreciated the suggestions put forward by the experts.

The court expressed its concern over the indifferent approach by the government agencies for not filing any action taken report with regard to the previous court directions and suggestions made by the Committee of Experts.

It sought a latest status report on the functioning of the Sewage Treatment Plants (STP’s) of the lake. It also sought a report on the management of solid waste by the hotels, restaurants and shops located around the lake.

It further directed the LAWDA and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to ensure that solid waste be segregated at source.

The division bench dispensed with the court appointed commissioners comprising a retired sessions judge and a retired deputy superintendant of police for the time being.

Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar has however been appointed as nodal officer between the state government, the Committee of Experts and the Amicus Curie to ensure complete implementation of the directions passed in the PIL so far.

Dal according to lake ecologists is under tremendous anthropogenic pressure. The numerous ways in which people use the lake along with the several pollutant-generating activities have stressed the lake ecosystem in diverse ways, say the experts.

They say that despite the national and international agencies having tried to prevent the lake from extinction but due to ‘lack of administrative will and rampant corruption’ the lake is in its terminal stage of illness.

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