HC directs authorities to demarcate Nallah Sindh and remove encroachments on it forthwith
Asks Secretaries of Revenue, and I&FC depts to be present in court ‘if job not done’
Srinagar: Despite a 2013 judicial order calling for demarcation of the Sindh Nallah and removal of encroachments on its embankments, none of the tasks has been carried out by the concerned agencies for the past eight years, compelling the High Court to again pass an order to this effect.
M A Chashoo, Additional Advocate General of the Union territory today prayed for grant of “some time to bring a fresh report in this regard on record”.
But a bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar observed “already sufficient time has been allowed to the authorities for demarcation of the Sindh Nallah (stream) but the work is not being completed for one reason or the other”.
In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the bench sought a compliance report to be filed by the Secretaries of Revenue, and Irrigation and Flood Control departments.
The statements are supposed to clearly state “as to what has been done till date for the purposes of demarcation of the river and as to how much time is proposed to be taken for completion of the above task”.
In case the reports are not filed within a period of three weeks, “both the officers shall personally attend the court and explain the reasons for not completing the demarcation,” directed the court.
The Revenue department, however, claims that the demarcation of the Sindh Nallah is underway and the task would be accomplished in collaboration with the Zilladar of the Irrigation and Flood Control department of Ganderbal.
But till date nothing has been brought on record to indicate that the demarcation work has been accomplished.
In 2013, the High Court had banned constructions within 100 meters from either side of the banks of the Sindh passing through Ganderbal district and also directed for its demarcation.
The High Court has since then been seeking reports from the government agencies about the demarcation of the stream besides calling for action taken report for the removal of encroachments along the water-body.
In his report, Nadeem Qadri, the amicus curiae in the public interest petition on the challenges facing Sindh, has said that the river is facing various threats due to the negligence of authorities.
The report indicates that the river which passes through pristine alpine hill station of Sonamarg is facing the worst kind of encroachments and pollution via constructions, hotels, tourist huts, and resorts at various places on the river bed and at some places on the river itself.
“Proper demarcation of river be done by the Revenue authorities and the same be notified by putting up sign boards along the course of the river,” suggested his report.
The report said that due to the severe encroachments around the river, its water quality has worsened and needs to be monitored.