Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the government to ensure that no garbage is dumped within the boundaries of Wular lake in north Kashmir as is mandated by the law as well as the international and national protocols.
Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar during their court visit on 10 October had observed that garbage was previously being dumped within the boundaries of the lake.
During the visit while attention of the Court was drawn to the encroachments that have come up within the boundaries – 200 metres – of the Wular Lake, the court directed the authorities to immediately take necessary steps for removal of these encroachments within the boundary and vicinity of the lake. “No construction activity shall be permitted to come up within 200 metres of the boundaries of the Wular Lake,” the court said.
Central Auqaf Committee Tarzoo-Dharnambal, an amalgam of eight Auqaf Committees of the area, have approached the court through Advocate Shafqat Nazir seeking direction to the Municipal Council Sopore to stop dumping of municipal solid waste at Dharnambal-Ningli Tarzoo.
During the visit, the court however disagreed with the contention of senior additional advocate general B A Dar that the solid waste was being dumped within Wular bounders for want of land.
“We make it clear that this is no excuse at all for dumping the garbage within the identified boundaries of the Wular Lake,” the Court said, directing the authorities to take every step to ensure that there was no pollution of the lake.
Meanwhile, Faizan-ul-Haq Iqbal, Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Baramulla, informed the court through Video Conferencing that a committee of officials of the Revenue Department; Flood Control and Irrigation Department and the Forest Department have identified the land in Baramulla as well as Sopore for creation of a Solid Waste landfill.
In response to the submission, the Court directed that no obstruction should be caused by any person to the setting up of this site. “The Police Department shall ensure provision of adequate security to enable setting up of the garbage dumping sites.”
After observing that problems regarding the Wular Lake as also other lakes in Jammu and Kashmir appear to be similar, the court asked Wular Lake Authority to identify the issues, discuss the same with the Committee of Experts (CoE), constituted by it for guiding the measures for preservation and protection of the Dal Lake, and seek its guidance on the same.