Rashid Paul

HC bans transfer of land, residential flats by rehabilitated Dal-dwellers to third parties

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Srinagar, May 22: In order to arrest the land transfer scandal at rehabilitation sites for Dal-dwellers, the J&K High Court today directed prohibition of all land and residential flat transfers, alienations and parting of possessions by allottees to third parties.

The court directed Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to take immediate steps towards prohibiting all land transfers, alienations as well as parting of possession of the plots by Dal-dwellers at the rehabilitation sites to any third person in whichever manner.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan hearing a public interest litigation on degradation of the Dal Lake took notice of the reports that some lake inhabitants who were allotted plots and residential flats at rehabilitation sites were selling their plots and flats to third parties and settling again in the lake for further packages by the government.

“Such action shall be deemed to be violation of the terms of allotment and shall invite action for cancellation of the allotment in favour of the allottees as well as dispossession of the allottees and/or their assignees from the relocation sites,” the court directed.

An enormous amount of money approximating Rs 250 crore is being expended by the government for rehabilitation of people living inside Dal Lake to different places in the city outskirts. Almost 7,000 kanals of land have been reclaimed by the government for construction of residential flats for lake inhabitants  at Rakh-e-Arth at Bemina besides Abi Nowpora, Abi Karpora, Nandpora and other places.

The court observed that in order to effectively monitor the works and measures pointed out by the Committee of Experts (CoE) for the lake, it would be useful to place before the court steps taken in the tabulation form setting out the work, authorities responsible for it, the time-line and the action taken so far.

The court took note of the absence of a well-planned sewerage system wherein pumping stations are spewing untreated sewerage into the channels connected to Dal Lake.

The CoE had identified Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) as a responsible authority to examine the sewerage management issue holistically and suggest collective measures.

The court directed that the guidelines for Sewerage Treatment Plants and effluents issued by the J&K State Pollution Control Board (J&KSPCB) for discharge of effluents into water-bodies shall be strictly complied with.

It also directed VC LAWDA to submit a report regarding the acquisition of one Kanal and 10 Marlas of land for building the sewerage pipe-line along the periphery of Nigeen Lake as directed by the CoE.

The court directed the chairman J&K State Pollution Control Board to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing and place before it the status report of declaration of the Dal Lake as an eco-sensitive zone and pollution issues confronting the lake.

It directed the VC LAWDA to inform the court about the action taken on removal of the illegal constructions pointed out in the report by CoE within a week.

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