Govt fails to link water bodies to prevent floods

HC seeks intervention of CS

SRINAGAR, May 14:

As the Government has failed to prepare a concrete action plan for inter-linking of the streams, wetlands, lakes and the river Jehlum to prevent floods like 2014, the State High Court today sought intervention of Chief Secretary of the State in this regard.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed that the directions of the Court passed in this regard be placed before the Chief Secretary for urgent examination.
The direction followed after the petitioners in person informed the Court that in terms of directions of the Court passed in December 2018, an appointment of Principal Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control as Nodal Officer for the said job came into being but till date, no ‘Action Plan’ has been submitted by the Government before the Court.
Division Bench has expressed its serious concern over the issue and observed that the matter deserves to be considered on priority. “The Court directions passed on December 2018 and today’s directions in this regard be placed before the Chief Secretary for immediate examination,” it said.
Petitioners also informed the Court about the drudging which has taken place in the river Jehlum which as per the petitioners has been done in unscientific manner due to which flood threats are looming at present.
Court has also sought information about the removal of encroachment from the river banks. Court said that the matter is of great concern as five years have passed since 2014 when devastating floods caused havoc in the State and Government is still unable to form the ‘Action Plan’ in order to ensure the security to lives and property in future.
Court on various occasions has directed the authorities to re-establish the network between the Jhelum, streams, lakes and wetlands and had sought report from all the concerned in this connection and as the authorities failed to take the said exercise to its logical conclusion, it prompted the court to appoint the nodal officer for such exercise.

The Commissioner/ Secretary Forest is under directions to complete the demarcation of wetlands within a fixed period of three months. Deputy Commissioners of districts Ganderbal, Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam and Pulwama were asked to cooperate with the Commissioner/Secretary Forest for carrying out the exercise of demarcation process.
Likewise the demarcation of national parks, wetlands, and wildlife sanctuaries and conservation reserves, Court had said it needs immediate attention from the Commissioner/Secretary Forest (Nodal Officer) in this regard.

Courtesy: Daily Excelsior

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