Irfan Yasin

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IRFAN-YASEENThe Dal affairs swung Supreme Court of India back into action recently. The apex court while directing state government to restore the pristine beauty of the lake rejected the plea of state government who had challenged the order of the J&K high court to extend the service of Irfan Yasin, the incumbent vice chairman lake and waterways development authority (LAWDA) by six months. Yasin was due to superannuate on March 31, 2014.

The rejection means the return of Yasin to LAWDA as its VC. The high court had earlier directed the state to appoint a full-time official as the chairperson of the J&K LAWDA but as the deadline for appointment was reaching, the government gave additional charge of LAWDA to VC Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), Shafaat Noor Barlas.

The order from the Government has come amid directions by the Division Bench (DB) of high court comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar to the state to retain the services of Yasin for a period of six months to ensure that various directions concerning Dal lake conservation don’t go unheeded.

On October 22, 2013 the court had suggested association of another officer right at that time so that by the time Yasin demits his office the officer shadowing him may have grip over the whole matter but nothing has been done by the respondents, the DB observed.  In order to serve the environment and maintain ecology of the lake by implementing various projects and maintaining the pace of development, we feel that it would be necessary to retain the services of Yasin, the DB further observed.

The Advocate General MI Qadri said the state government has no option but to implement the order. He said the government would require recalling and re-appointing Yasin as VC LAWDA in the wake of the SC judgment. But a new VC of the body will also have to be appointed simultaneously so that he gains experience and knowledge of running the body, Qadri said.

The controversy over extension in the services of Yasin erupted last March when he completed one year extended tenure following his retirement in March 2013.

With an extended office, Yasin, who terms the introduction of sewerage treatment plant into Dal Lake his best shot as VC LAWDA, is expected to clear some muck from the lake before going for a long leave.

– Bilal Handoo

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