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HC seeks from I&FC dept details of flood control plans for River Jhelum, funds used for it so far

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court Saturday directed the Commissioner Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) Department to file an affidavit about the flood control plans for river Jhelum and the funds utilized for the purpose so far.

Hearing a bunch of Public Interest petitions (PILs) on Jhelum and other environmental issues, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi   ordered “in the event the action taken report is not filed within the stipulated time,  the Commissioner-Secretary would personally appear before the court on the next date along with the record.”

The matter has been posted for further hearing on 22nd of July.

Earlier Asifa Padroo, the Additional Advocate General of J&K, had sought time to submit an action taken report by the UT. The report related to framing of a scheme of flood control and improvement of embankments of river Jhelum. It was also supposed to show as to how the funds sanctioned by the Union of India have been utilized for the purpose.

The division bench directed the counsel to “seek instructions from the Commissioner Secretary, Irrigation and Flood Control Department and file a status report on affidavit to be sworn by the Commissioner Secretary himself within a period of four weeks.”

The High Court is currently hearing a PIL, expressing concern regarding embankments of river Jhelum and untreated sewerage water being flown into it.

The other PIL was initiated by the court of its own motion after the devastating floods of 2014 in the Valley. It aims at conserving the river.

The third PIL by Environmental Policy Group seeks directions upon the Union of India and the UT to frame and execute comprehensive Jhelum restoration and prevention plans on scientific lines.

The court directed the listing together of these PILs. It said these   would be the leading case.

T M Shamsi, the Assistant Solicitor General of India, told the court that the Union of India has provided sufficient funds for the restoration and preservation of the river. He cited a status report filed on the matter in January this year.

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