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HC Asks For Detailed Report On Steps Taken To Prevent 2014-Like Floods

Seeks Utilization Certificates Regarding Rs 4,1323.17 lakhs Released GoI For Various Projects 

Srinagar, June 10: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed authorities  to file a detailed affidavit, detailing steps taken in compliances to its various orders from time to time to prevent 2014-like floods, underscoring that preventing the possibility of recurrence of devastating deluge remains its “prime importance.”

“What is of prime importance for this Court is to prevent the possibility of recurrence of such a devastating flood, which had occurred in September, 2014 for which a number of directions have been issued by this Court, including directions issued on 18.08.2017 and 11.09.2017,” a division bench of Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said while hearing clubbed Public Interest Litigations including one which deals with various issues and the measures sought to be taken to prevent 2014-like devastating flood and another regarding clearance and removal of encroachments from the vicinity of villages Rangpora, Daugerpora and Malbagh, which fall in the course of Padshahi Canal.

“This Court, vide order dated 9.10.2017 with regard to the directions issued from time to time particularly on 18.08.2017 and 11.09.2017 reminded the authorities that the Court is not powerless in matters involving public interest,” the Division bench said, adding, “It was further observed that this Court is sufficiently empowered to take such action which would constrain the authorities to follow the dictates of law.”

 The Court, however, has adopted an approach to enable the authorities to rectify their mistakes so that “precipitative action is avoided”, the Division Bench underscored.  

Subsequently, In view of the matter and keeping in mind the “impending monsoon season and likelihood of floods”, the court issued slew of directions to the authorities and among others asked them to file a detailed affidavit, detailing what steps they have taken in terms of the various orders passed by the Court from time to time.

“The respondent-UT of Jammu and Kashmir shall furnish utilization certificates in respect of the amount to the tune of Rs.4,1323.17 lakhs released by Union of India for various projects undertaken by UT of Jammu and Kashmir.”

It also sought latest compliance report in terms of its order dated 10 June 2016 in which it, among others, had directed all the concerned Deputy Commissioners to ensure that no construction of any kind is raised near the water bodies within their territorial jurisdiction, which shall also include details in tabulated form regarding the encroachments removed on the River Jhelum.

“Respondent-UT of Jammu and Kashmir is further directed to state by way of filing an Action Taken Report detailing therein what preventive measures they have taken and are also envisaging in order to deal with the precarious issue of floods in Kashmir, in view of impending monsoon season.”

The authorities have also been directed to file an affidavit by or before the next date of hearing regarding the steps taken for demarcation, as directed by this Court on 18.08.2017.  

In its 18 August 2017 order, the court had directed  demarcation be carried out using the latest GIS technology “so that we are clear as to what is supposed to be the area covered by each of the NationalParks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, conservation Reserves and Wetland Reserves and what exists in reality.”  

“Keeping in view the sensitivity attached to the issues discussed above, it is made clear that if the needful is not done within the stipulated time period (three weeks), this court, in that eventuality, would be constrained to take coercive steps against the respondents,” the court said and posted matter on August 20.

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