SC Constitutes Committee To Assess Situation In Flood-affected Areas

24 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Neeraj Rohmetra

Jammu: To ascertain the ground situation in the flood affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Supreme Court today formulated a five-member Committee headed by Senior Registrar, which would inspect all the affected area in the light of various directions passed by the Apex Court and submit its report. The Committee shall submit its interim report within two weeks and also place a copy of the same before the State High Court, which is also hearing petitions pertaining to the same subject. These directions were issued by the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha and comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman. Elaborating further about the constitution of the Committee, the Bench said, 'the Committee shall comprise Senior Registrar of State High Court, Secretary Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Nominee of the Central Government and President of respective Bar Associations of Jammu and Kashmir. 'The Registrar of High Court has been nominated as the Convenor of the Committee and will inspect all the affected areas of the State in light of the orders passed by this Court on 12.09.2014, 15.09.2014, 18.09.2014 and today's order and also the documents given by Prof. Bhim Singh and Ms. Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi, petitioner-in-person and details given by Mr. Colin Gonsalves, learned senior counsel, and also affidavits filed on behalf of State of Jammu and Kashmir on 19.09.2014 and 23.09.2014 and the notes handed over by the Attorney General on behalf of the Union of India', said the order. The Bench said, 'the Committee shall submit its interim report within two weeks and a copy of the same shall also be filed before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in PIL No. 1 of 2014, 'G.A. Lone & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors.' However, the Bench clarified that the State High Court can also pass order on the basis of the interim report and the case pending before it would not be an impediment in its way to pass an appropriate order. The Bench also questioned the petitioners for taking differing stands on issue as one of them said that the State Government is not doing anything while the other contended that National Conference is taking all the credit for work in the State as the election is due. 'If an election is due in few months then can you expect State Government to sit idle? It would go an extra mile to reach the people and to ensure that people get relief,' the Bench said. Earlier, the State Government through its counsel assured the Apex Court that the supply of drinking water shall be made available in the entire Kashmir Valley within three days. The State Government had been represented by its senior counsel Gaurav Pachnanda, Ashok Mathur and G M Kawoosa. Senior Counsel of the State Government informed that within 72 hours, the shortfall of drinking water will be made up and, if any further steps are needed, the same would be taken without any delay. 'As of now there is total supply of 107.98 MGD in 10 districts of Kashmir Valley out of total requirement of 142.33 MGD. The shortfall of drinking water is 34.35 MGD and the same is being made up by providing water through tankers and Reverse Osmosis Plants have been up which are likely to be functional within 10 days', he added. Referring to the status of medical relief activities in the affected districts, the State Counsel said that the medical relief activities in the affected districts had become functional through District Hospitals. Tertiary care medical facilities are available at the Army Base Hospital at Srinagar and BSF Hospital in Budgam and some other hospitals are also functional. Government of India has posted 29 specialist doctors in different parts of Srinagar. In addition, 20 doctors from Delhi Medical Association, who have voluntarily opted, are also deployed. The State Government officers have asked the Central Government not to send additional doctors at present. However, the existing numbers already made available are to be maintained. Earlier, Prof. Bhim Singh, senior counsel for the petitioner placed before the Bench a note for consideration and also suggested that the Apex Court may take up the monitoring of relief work by constituting relief and rehabilitation committees at district level for all the 20 districts and other incidental aspects. Ms. Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi, petitioner-in-person also handed over a note titled 'Reality Vs. Hype' along with some newspaper reports. Mukul Rohatgi, Attorney General, handed over to the Court the communication dated 23.09.2014 received by him from the Directorate General of Health Services, EMR Division, Government of India, particularly with regard to action taken on medical relief activities. The Bench was also informed that a Public Interest Litigation titled 'G.A. Lone & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors. ' (PIL No. 1 of 2014) has been entertained by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the Bench presided over by the Chief Justice has passed first order in that PIL on 19.09.2014 and the matter is now coming up before the High Court on September 29, 2014.