A Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan in a landmark order today bared construction and extraction of minor from River Tawi.
The DB also issued slew of directions to the respondents in a Public Interest Litigation on the encroachment of river Tawi bank.
When the PIL came-up for hearing, Division Bench , while referring to compliance reports filed by JMC and Industries department as per earlier direction observed that implementation of directions passed vis-à-vis certain fields is being carried on, yet a lot is still in the way to be undertaken by respondents to achieve the sacrosanct aim of the PILs and most especially the spirit of Order, which was passed by this Court, given overall situation on the spot qua the subject matter of PILs.
Division Bench directed the State-respondent that in insofar as extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi is concerned, it be immediately stopped till further orders and as regards extraction of minor minerals from other river(s)/ nallah(s), Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu, shall deploy manpower around the site(s) and seize such vehicles, carrying/transporting extracted minor minerals without permission/challan from the concerned authority.
It was made clear that seized vehicles, carrying/transporting extracted minor minerals without permission/challan from the concerned authority, shall not be released by any court/ authority, unless directed by this Court. Considering the manpower shortage pleaded and to prevent illegal extraction, no extraction be permitted between 6.00 PM to 6.00 AM.
The DB also directed State to stop all kinds of construction(s), either government or individual, coming and falling on either side of the River Tawi (i.e. from fringe line of River Tawi).
The DB further observed that in continuation to and in furtherance of direction of order, respondent-JMC shall submit a detailed report about the Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) installed in and around the Jammu City as also the list of plants on the River Tawi bed for sewage treatment.
"We should not forget that Jammu City is a City of Temples. We have been seeing and observing that countless hotels, guest/lodging houses, have come up in the City for last two decades. Its effluent is also flowing into River Tawi, which adds towards it deterioration, the Division Bench maintained.
Observing that the registration and set up of hotels is generally handled by J&K Government through its Tourism Ministry, Department, it becomes necessary to array the said Department as party respondent in these PILs.
"Accordingly, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Tourism Department and Director, Tourism Department, Jammu, are arrayed as party respondents in these PILs and let notices go to them also.
The DB further directed that on the next date of hearing, newly added respondents, i.e., Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Tourism Department, and Director, Tourism Department, Jammu, shall submit detailed report, in which they will give the list of all hotels of Jammu City. They shall also give the details of such hotels, which have STPs installed and what are the norms/guidelines adopted and being implemented for installation of STPs in the hotels and which kind/type of hotels are exempted from installing STPs.
DB further observed that it is appropriate to suggest the Government as well to install STPs in all such buildings, housing government departments/ organisations, which have more than 50 rooms". JNF