HC seeks action-taken report on Dal Lake

Pollution is turning the famous Dal Lake in Kashmir into a weed-clogged swamp despite years of conservation efforts. Mubashir Khan/GK

J&K High Court has directed the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to place within two weeks an action taken report before the Committee of Experts (CoE) with regard to the issues noted by the Committee on conservation of Dal lake.

Hearing a related Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar observed that it was essential to have the latest report on the issues as four months had elapsed since the Committee visited the Dal.

The CoE had sought action taken report with regard to stopping of sewage and polluted water flowing into the lake, pollution from House Boats, boundary demarcation of the lake, protection of catchment areas, relocation and rehabilitation of encroachments and title-holders from the lake area, removal of Floating Gardens, de-weeding and disposal of weeds, management of solid waste, dredging of the lake, direction of high court regarding video graphing and photographing, petitions received for renovation,  repair or reconstruction.

Apart from it, the court asked the Secretary Tourism Department to submit an action taken report before the CoE on issues related to Tourism and managing Houseboats.

So far the issues of Refurbishment Work for STPs and State Pollution Control Board are concerned the court directed the Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) and J&K Pollution Control Board to file a report before the CoE.

In his report before the Court, VC LAWDA placed minutes recorded by the CoE during their visit from 6th to 9th of March this year to the Dal Lake. With regard to progress on planting boundary pillars based on the Survey of India map, the court was informed by LAWDA that the work was completed and all the 159 boundary pillars with plates were installed.

“It is heartening to note that the installation of boundary pillars on the Dal Lake based on the Survey of India map stands completed,” the court observed.

With regard to action taken to evict vegetable growers from the floating gardens so that these floating gardens can be dismantled, the court was informed that the issue involved the livelihood of Dal dwellers and was directly related to the rehabilitation program.

With regard to removal of condemned and unserviceable house boats from the Lake, the court was informed that the Tourism Department has conducted geo-tagging of all houseboats in Dal and the process of registration shall pave the way for removal of condemned houseboats which was expected to be finalized by August. With regard to relocation and rehabilitation of encroachers of the Lake – 9000 families – the court was informed that options are being worked out.