Rashid Paul

HC directs immediate removal of solid waste dumped within Wular lake area

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed the Municipal Committee Sopore to take steps for immediate removal of solid waste dumped by it within the demarcated area of the Wular lake in north Kashmir.

The direction was issued in petition filed by a Kashmiri Muslim Religious Foundation which submitted that the Municipal Committee Sopore was dumping 66.59 metric tons of solid and biomedical waste on a daily basis into Wular lake.

Apart from directing the Municipal body for immediate removal of solid waste from the demarcated area of the lake, the court directed the authorities to “place on record the site plan and location of the dumping site before it by the next date of hearing”.

“We shall also be informed with regard to the notification of the Solid Waste Management By-Laws by the Municipal Committee and the fines collected there-under,” directed the court.

The judges also asked the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) to inform the court about the steps which can be taken for earmarking the boundary of the Wular in the manner in which it is required to be done.

“The respondent authority shall examine the steps taken for marking the boundaries of the Dal lake in Srinagar and see whether similar steps are required to be taken and could be replicated qua the Wular lake as well,” directed the court.

It also directed the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Baramulla, to verify the actual position and submit a report before the next date of hearing.

Wular lake forms a part of river Jhelum basin which is a sub-basin of Indus river. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes of Asia. It is associated with a number of wetlands in Kashmir which support rich biodiversity besides offering habitat to migratory birds from Central Asia.

Wular is also the largest fisheries resource for Kashmir Valley supporting livelihoods of a large human population living along its fringes. The lake is connected to a number of wetlands. It protects Kashmir Valley from floods as well as maintains the flow of water to support agriculture and hydro-power generation.

Recognizing the importance of this wetland for its biodiversity and socio-economic values, the lake has been designated as “Wetland of International Importance” under Ramsar Convention in 1990. 2.

The J&K government constituted the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) in 2012.

The WUCMA is tasked with conservation and preservation of the Wular lake and its feeder channels as well as the treatment of its catchment area falling under Erin and Madhmuti watersheds in district Bandipora.

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