HC Seeks Proper ‘Action Plan’ On Relocation, Rehabilitation Of Dal Dwellers

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SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary Revenue Department and Dheeraj Gupta, Commissioner Secretary Housing & Urban Development Department, to examine the issue of relocation and rehabilitation of persons within and around the Dal Lake, the flagship of Kashmir’s tourism.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta directed both the officers to come up with a proper action plan with regard to the various measures which are to be taken.

The direction followed perusal of a report by a committee of experts that the method with regard to relocation and rehabilitation of families and persons within and around the Dal Lake has not progressed because of the non-commitment of the Government Departments.

“Let the aspect of the matter relating to the flow of sewage into the Dal Lake be brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir forthwith,” the court said in other directions, as per news agency GNS correspondent.

So far as declaring the Dal Lake and surrounding areas as Eco-Sensitive Zone, the court direct the Secretaries to Department of Housing & Urban Development; as well as the Forest, Ecology and Environment to take urgent steps for preparation and approval of the proposal in this regard. “The same should be forwarded to the concerned Competent Authority of the Government of India within a reasonable timeframe of two months if not already done,” the court. The direction followed perusal of a report by Committee of Experts the issue was unnecessarily languishing with the Government Departments.

Regarding the Guidelines for Registration of Houseboats and all Water Vessels, the court observed that while some progress has been made regarding houseboats, yet, the Department of Tourism has taken no steps with regard to registration of houseboats, Shikaras and all other vessels which are ferrying in the Dal Lake.

“The Department of Tourism shall forthwith prepare an action plan, announce guidelines and take immediate steps for registration of Shikaras and all other vessels on the Dal Lake.”

The court also directed J&K LAWDA to examine and take immediate steps for making a clear, cogent and detailed contract of the de-weeding machinery.

The court also directed VC LAWDA to take urgent steps for the introduction of a proper variety of fish culture in the Dal Lake.

“The J&K LAWDA shall ensure that the result of Drone Survey and GIS Data prepared by it is properly maintained. The same may be put in the public domain,” the court said, adding, “The Government shall take urgent steps to construct a western peripheral road on the Dal Lake in order to prevent encroachments of the Lakes.”

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