Srinagar, Sept 16: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed Municipal Committee, Sopore, to take steps for removal of municipal Solid Waste forthwith which has been dumped within the demarcated area of the Wular Lake.
“The Municipal Committee, Sopore, shall place on record the site plan, the location of the dumping site before us, before the next date of hearing,” a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta said while hearing a Public Interest Litigation.
“We shall also be informed with regard to the notification of the Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws by the Municipal Committee and the fines collected thereunder.”
The bench also directed coordinator Wular Conservation and Management Authority to inform the Court about the steps which can be taken for earmarking the boundary of the Wular Lake in the manner in which it is required to be done. “The respondent no. 8 (the coordinator) shall examine the steps taken for marking the boundaries of the Dal Lake in Srinagar and to see whether similar steps are required to be taken and could be replicated qua the Wular Lake as well.”
The court passed the orders after perusal of a report filed by the coordinator WUCMA that Municipal Committee Sopore has illegally dumped municipal solid waste within the demarcated area of Wular Lake and also carried out unauthorized construction in the area.
“The delinquent department has carried out construction through R & B Division Sopore and published tender namely “Fencing of dumping site of Darnamabal Sopore” vide NIT No: 02 of R&B Sopore of 2020-2021 with site plan for construction approved and vetted by Chief Executive Officer MC Sopore and Assistant Ex Engineer (R & B) Sub division Sopore.”
The site has been taken up for construction without any formal transfer of land issued to M. C. Sopore, he said.
“As per Government order No: 30 -Rev(s) of 2019 dated 05-03 2019 (Ref. State Administrative Council Decision No. 44/5/2019 dated 13-02- 2019) proposals for transfer of State/ Departmental land for various public purposes shall have to be processed and various Government authorities have been prescribed for transfer of land to Government departments for carrying out such developmental works.”
The coordinator said that it was pertinent to mention here that no such order has been issued in favour of MC Sopore by any authority in terms of Government order for carrying out such work.
“Therefore, the construction is (not) legal and can be treated as encroachment on other departmental land and responsible officer need to be punished for such delinquency with costs recovered from their salaries.”
As per spot verification carried out by WUCMA field team, the construction activity has been undertaken between boundary pillar 509 and 510 within the demarcated boundary of Wular Lake.
“Further as per the revenue extract issued by the Tehsildar Sopore in respect of land in question, the corresponding revenue entry record recognizes it as Forest Land. The said entry is a clear proof of ownership of same vesting with WUCMA/ Forest Department.”