The government on Tuesday informed the High Court that from last 16 years, Rs 759 crores were spent on conservation of Dal lake and the infrastructural development for the affected dwellers of the water body.
In compliance to court directions, Jammu and Kashmir government has filed a status report attesting the funds allocated both by the state government as well as Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as Rs 829.25 crores.
Citing the report, additional advocate general on behalf of the state government told the court that out of Rs 400.96 crores allocated by the Central government for conservation of the Dal lake, Rs 359.93 crores have been spent so far.
Referring to fund allocation from the state government, the state counsel informed the court that the state government has spent 399.07 crores out of Rs 428.29 crores.
Under the Central Government Schemes,–National Lake Conservation Project(NLCP), Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programe (PMRP), Rejuvenation of Brari Nambal Lagoon under AMRU, Basic Services to Urban Poor, the state government has received Rs 295.85 Cr, 83.18 cr, 1.50 Cr 20.43 Cr respectively.
The court was informed that out of Rs 295.85 crores received under NLCP, Rs 277.96 crores have been spent while under PMRP out of 83.18 Crores, 60.31 crores have been spent. Under AMRUT out of 1.50 crores, Rs 1.23 crores has been spent s far.
Under the state scheme of Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Dal dwellers, out of 150.53 crores released by the state government, Rs 150.12 crores has been spent. For relocation of House Boats at Dole Demb, Rs 9.74 crores have been released by the state government out of which 1.43 crores have been spent. More over under Dal Development sector, the State government has released 268.02 crores out of which 247.52 crores have been spent so far.
After perusing of the report, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur observed that crores of rupees have been spent on Dal and no fruitful results have come out.
“Therefore, immediate measures are necessary before the situation is rendered hopeless. It is therefore, necessary to have an expert committee with most importantly the vision and the experience of having undertaken issues which involve wide spectrum, multi dimensional assessment, evaluation and resolution,” the court observed.
The bench constituted a three member committee comprising Sreedharan, Nivideta Dhar and M C Metha renowned Environmentalist, J&K saying “they have made valuable contributions in various states on several issues noted by us”.
Senior advocate Z A Shah, who assists the court as amicus curie submitted that the there was the need for sincerity from officers to meet the deadlines as three committees – Monitoring Committee, Scientific Advisory Committee and Court Committee were already in place. “There will be a new committee but the state apparatus remains the same. Overlapping of committees will be a problem,” he said.
“ Dal lake could be international tourist destination if state authorities are willing to work,” the bench observed. Senior AAG, B A Dar Dar submitted that the Public Interest Litigation has at least saved the Dal lake from encroachments saying otherwise the water body would have been nonexistent today.