HC seeks report on Sindh demarcation

‘Water body facing worst pollution, encroachments’
File photo of J&K High Court
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK File

Srinagar: The High Court has sought to know from the government about the demarcation of the river Sindh in Ganderbal district and action taken for the removal of encroachments along the water body.

It also sought response to the report submitted to it by amicus curiae indicating that the river is facing the worst kind of pollution.

A division bench of chief justice Pankaj Mithal and justice Vinod Chatterji Koul sought the report on demarcation of the river Sindh by October 20 after Additional Advocate General M A Chashoo requested for further time for this purpose.

Meanwhile, the Court asked the government to file response, if it likes, to the suggestions submitted by advocate Nadeem Qadri as amicus curiae in the Public interest litigation seeking protection and conservation of River Sindh.

In his report, the amicus curiae has suggested that this important river which lies in the Machoi Glacier at an elevation of 4800m east of the Amarnath temple and south of the Zoji La, is facing various threats due to the negligence of authorities.

The report indicates that the river Sindh which passes through the famous alpine hill station Sonamarg is facing the worst kind of pollution through constructions- hotels, tourist hut, resorts etc - being undertaken at various places on the river beds and at some places on the river itself. “Proper demarcation of river be done by the Revenue Authorities and the same be notified by putting up sign boards along the course of the river,” it says.

The report highlights that a complete list of all the illegal constructions and the encroachers within 100 meters of the boundary of the river must be compiled to better assist the court in dealing with the issue.

The report underscores that due to the severe encroachments around Sindh, the water quality of the river has depleted and the same needs to be monitored regularly by the J&K Pollution Control Committee.

The water quality, the report says, has a direct effect on the ecology of the river which is the natural habitat of trout, and other fish, the most famous among them are: brown trout, rainbow trout, snow trout, Shuddgurn and Anyour.

While the report points out that the Waste from dwellings and camps of security forces on the banks of the river, use of pesticides, DDT and insecticides by farmers also poses a threat to the ecology of the river, it suggests that it is necessary to develop liquid waste and sewage treatment plants for treatment of waste before discharging it into River Sindh.

With regard to mining activity, the report suggests that the extraction of sand and bajri by engagement of heavy machines needs to be banned or at least controlled to prevent adverse effects on the ecology of the river.

The provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010, the report suggests, should be implemented in letter and spirit by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department.

While the report suggests that active Involvement of Irrigation and Flood Control Department should be sought to ensure proper flood mitigation plans are in place, it says, the principle of “Custodia legis” as established by orders dated 03.07.2012 and 30.05.2013 should continue to be followed for proper protection and conservation of the river Sindh”.

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