Rashid Paul

HC asks SGI to survey Dal Lake and report on its demarcation

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Directs govt to examine possibility of declaring lake area eco-sensitive zone

Srinagar, Apr 11: The J&K High Court Thursday directed the Surveyor General of India (SGI), to undertake a survey of the Dal Lake and submit report on the demarcation of the boundary of the lake within four weeks.

With an aim to put a halt to the encroachments in and around the “dying” urban lake of Kashmir, the court directed the SGI to undertake a survey and examine all the available maps related to it. The court directed the Surveyor General “to draw linkage to existing revenue maps and place a report regarding the demarcation of the boundary of the Dal Lake.”

The exercise has to be completed within four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of the court order.

The important direction was made after examining the report by a committee of experts appointed by the court. The committee comprised of aquatic ecologists and other experts including Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, Dr. Nivedita P. Haran, Dr. Mangu Singh and M. C. Mehta.

The bench appreciated the detailed power-point presentation by the experts and accepted its recommendations.

The court asked the Secretary Revenue Department to place all available maps including revenue maps before the SGI within one week. It directed the State government and its Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to facilitate examination of the boundaries to be undertaken by the chief Surveyor of India.

“LAWDA shall submit an inventory of the land owned by it to the Committee of Experts as well as measures which would be undertaken to protect the same,” directed the court.

It asked the State government to formulate a proper policy for rehabilitation of the Dal-dwellers in order to ensure protection and life of the lake.

“This matter be examined by the Chief Secretary of the state and a report in this regard be also placed before the Committee of Experts at the earliest,” directed the court.

The court also directed the J&K Tourism department and LAWDA to submit a report about the unregistered houseboats in the Dal Lake and suggest the ways for their removal.

It asked the State government to examine the possibility of formally declaring the Dal Lake area as an Eco-Sensitive Zone under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

“The Secretary of the Department of Forests and Environment shall place a report in this regard before the Committee of Experts within four weeks,” directed the court.

The Secretary Tourism has also been tasked with the examination of the suggestions of the Committee of Experts for developing the Dole Demb as a tourist centre.

Stressing the management stability at LAWDA, the court observed “the work being undertaken by LAWDA is of extremely serious nature and it needs continuity in leadership of experienced and sufficient seniority to enable control over not only the organization but also ability to interact with other government departments.”

The court asked the Chief Secretary J&K to look into the matter of appointment of Vice-Chairman LAWDA who would be an officer of sufficient seniority and experience on a continuous tenure.

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