Rashid Paul

LAWDA alone should be allowed to work for solving problems facing Dal: HC

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Disbands all committees and amicus curies, except one, constituted and appointed for advising on the issues confronting the terminally sick Lake

Srinagar: The J&K High Court today ordered disbanding all the committees and amicus curies, except one, constituted and appointed for advising on the issues confronting the terminally sick Dal Lake of Kashmir.

Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul hearing a 2002 public interest petition on the grave ecological disturbances facing the famed urban lake of Kashmir, ordered “all the Committees that have been created in the past in relation to this litigation stand disbanded”.

The judges observed that these committees are not of much use and that a development authority in the form of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) has especially been created for the purpose.

“The entire responsibility should be shifted upon it (LAWDA) and the Authority alone should be allowed to work out a broad scheme for solving all the problems facing Dal,” they ordered.

The bench observed that one amicus curiae, advocate Zaffar A Shah, is sufficient to assist the court.

“In case there is any other person appointed as amicus curiae in this litigation, his appointment would be treated to have come to an end with immediate effect,” the court said.

It directed the Vice-Chairman LAWDA to draw a complete scheme for the management and development of Dal and the area around it in co-association with the various government departments.

The Vice-Chairman has been asked to furnish report in the matter by next hearing.

He has also been directed to survey and prepare a list of all the drains flowing into Dal and take immediate steps that the drain water and other effluents are not discharged into the lake.

An exercise may also be undertaken to find out if the waste material from any houseboat is being discharged into the lake and if so, to take measures to stop it or to divert it to some alternative place, directed the court.

The LAWDA Vice-Chairman, who was present in the court, emphasized the need for purchasing one more weed harvester for the lake.

The court emphasized “that no construction activities in Dal, its lake area and its prohibited parts shall be permitted”.

J&K’s Advocate General has been asked to supervise all the above exercise to be undertaken by the LAWDA and ensure that a proper scheme and road-map is presented before the court by the next date of hearing of the case.

On the matter of release of vehicles seized for unauthorized carriage of minor minerals, the court directed that all applications for the release of vehicles shall be moved before the competent magistrate.

The magistrate has been asked not to release any vehicle without realizing a composite amount of Rs 50,000 in the case of first time violation and Rs one lakh in the case of second-time violation.

Vehicles of the third-time offenders shall be confiscated, directed the court. The confiscated vehicles shall be released after completion of the investigation pursuant to the FIR or the trial thereof.

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