HC seeks whitepaper on SDA works

The CEO has to file his personal affidavit in this regard by August 5.
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Monday warned that it would recommend the government to wind up “authorities like Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA)” if they could not take any development work.

The Court also asked Chief Executive Officer SDA to come out with a “whitepaper” on the development work so far done by the Authority and the action plan drawn for future development.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi said, “If authorities like Sonamarg Development Authority are not in a position to take any development work, the Court will recommend the Government for winding up of such authorities as there is no use to keep the white elephants only for the purposes of siphoning of public money.”

The CEO has to file his personal affidavit in this regard by August 5.

The court also asked Advocate General D C Raina to ensure compliance of the directions passed by it on August 11, 2021 with regard to convening of meeting with the officers and to submit a report subsequently.

On perusal of a compliance report, the court disapproved of the manner in which the demarcation of Sindh river had been done saying, “It has not been disclosed in the report whether any boundary pillars have been erected or not.”

Commissioner Secretary to Government, Revenue Department had filed a compliance report, stating that the demarcation work on Sindh Nallah (river) in collaboration with the Irrigation and Flood Control Department had been completed. As per the demarcation, he said, about 258 kanals and 12.75 marlas of land of the Sindh river was under encroachment and in possession of unauthorized occupants.

“The department is taking effective steps for retrieving the land but what steps are proposed to be taken or have been taken had not been indicated,” the court said.

In the absence of such information, the court said, it was not worth believing that the demarcation process had been completed or that effective steps were being taken to retrieve the encroached land. While the court asked Additional Advocate General, M A Chashoo, appearing for the Government to file a better affidavit in regard, it said, “Nadeem Qadri assisting the court as Amicus Curiae, may go through the reports and file objections or suggestions in response thereof.”

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