November 2017 News

State Of Kashmir Water Bodies- One Encroaches, Other Watches

5 November 2017
Greater Kashmir
Ejaz-ul-Haq Bhat

Bandipora: Kashmir's water bodies are slowly dying due to apathy of government as fisheries department Bandipora openly encroached Wular Lake by constructing a fish landing centre within the demarcated land while the forest department failed to take any measures to prevent the violation of High Court orders. The department constructed a concrete structure within the periphery of Wular Lake which had been demarcated by the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA)-the executing authority for the conservation of Wular Lake. 'The department has constructed a fish landing centre within the Wular Lake which is in total violation of the norms and High Court orders near Laharwalpora village of Bandipora district,' said officials in district administration. 'As the fisheries department is constructing the landing centre in violation of the norms, the forest department failed to prevent the construction works as the area falls under the jurisdiction of Bandipora forest department's Ningli range,' they said. Even though WUCMA has asked the fisheries department to stop the construction within the periphery of Wular Lake through its communication order no. Coord-WUCMA-2017-130-35 (copy of which lies with Greater Kashmir) on November 02 this year but the construction works are still going on. 'The field staff has reported an attempt of encroachment by your department within the Wular Lake by way of constructing concrete structure within the demarcation limits of Wular Lake,' reads the communique from Coordinator Water Management WUCMA to Director Fisheries. The order reads that 'Pertinently, the Wular Lake stands demarcated all along the periphery with digitized and geo-tagged boundary pillars. The demarcation has been carried out on the direction of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and it is continuously monitoring the activities of this authority in reference to its direction passed from time to time.' A fisheries department official said the department started construction on the fish landing farm only after getting NOC from the concerned Tehsildar Bandipora. The geo-coordinates taken from the field where your department is trying to construct the structure, fall well within the no construction zone and thus violating the order of the High Court and Wetlands Conservation and Management rules, 2017. 'You are, therefore, requested to get the construction activity stopped forthwith. In default, the statutory action as required shall be initiated and your department may be arraigned as a party in the ongoing PIL no. 345-2006 and latest PIL no. 08-2017 before the High Court,' it reads. The authority has also sought a report from the concerned Tehsildar Bandipora to explain how he has issued a report no. 4119-DQ dated 10-10-2017 in favor of fisheries department for construction without informing WUCMA. Director Fisheries R N Pandita said that he will direct the department to stop the work unless and until they get clearance from the WUCMA. 'There is no question of encroaching the land. The land belongs to the government and we are not a private party who will encroach the land,' he added.