HC seeks satellite images of Khushalsar, Anchar

The High Court Thursday directed the government to present before it satellite images of Khushalsar and Anchar lakes.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed the department of ecology, environment and remote sensing to present satellite images of the lakes after senior advocate ZA Shah as amicus curiae told the court that no effort has been made to have such images and only satellite images of Dal and Nigeen lakes have been placed on record. 

State’s senior additional advocate general BA Dar sought to place on record the compliance report filed on behalf of the department of ecology, environment and remote sensing with regard to the mapping of the lakes.

After it was informed that the same information has been placed before a committee of experts, the court took the report on record.

“We shall await the views of the committee of experts with regard to the fixation of boundaries of the Dal Lake,” the court said while hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking conservation of the lake. 

With regard to untreated sewage flowing into Dal Lake, the court directed the State Pollution Control Board to take strict action against the establishments discharging untreated sewage into the lake.

“An action taken report shall be filed before this court within three weeks from today,” the court said.

Following the submission that given the work being undertaken by the committee of experts, the Court Monitoring Committee had been rendered inconsequential and may be discontinued, the court said the same appears to be fair and just.

“The Court Monitoring Committee shall stand discharged for the time being. We appreciate the work which has been taken by this committee for all these years,” the court said.

The court, however, appointed Abdul Rashid Malik, principal district and sessions judge Srinagar as a nodal officer to monitor implementation of all directions of the committee of experts and the court.

Malik was appointed the nodal officer given the magnitude of works which have been undertaken by LAWDA and the government departments and organisations facilitating LAWDA besides carrying out the directions of the court and the committee of experts.

The court, however, made it clear that it is not necessary for Malik to appear in court unless specifically asked to.

The court directed that the copies of its orders passed, the reports of the committee of experts and the status reports filed by different authorities be made available to Malik to monitor implementation of the works being undertaken by the authorities. 

“Malik may file his reports through the registrar judicial and seek clarifications/directions through amicus curiae already appointed,” the court said.

Meanwhile, the court directed LAWDA, SPCB, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the department of ecology, environment and remote sensing and revenue department to ensure that officials conversant with the matters and competent to take decision are present before the committee of experts.