High Court Issues Directions For Restoring And Preserving The World-Famous Dal Lake

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SRINAGAR:  A Coram of Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal and Justice Sindhu Sharma has  directed that all authorities shall ensure that proper follow up reports with regard to all the action points noted by the Committee of Experts constituted by the J&K High Court to restore and preserve the world-famous Dal Lake, are drawn up as pointed out in several orders placed before the Committee of Experts within six weeks from today.

The Bench directed the  Secretary Tourism Department to place the final draft of the guidelines for registration/renewal of registration of houseboats before the Committee of Experts for their examination and recommendations which shall be placed before the Chief Secretary of the UT of J&K for taking a final view in the matter.

The Order  directs the Department of Tourism to get examined a request received from the Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association   enclosing a list of 110 houseboat owners who are willing to surrender the registration certificates of their houseboat units in lieu of rehabilitation, by concerned authorities including the Director Tourism, LAWDA with the Committee of Experts and a scheme be evolved with regard to those persons who have surrendered registrations.

The Bench observed that it is heartening to note that the Department of Tourism has completed the GIS tagging/physical mapping of the houseboats, as also of 273 hotels and guest houses in the Dal Lake with the technical assistance provided by the Remote Sensing Organization, Srinagar. The Bench directed  Director, Remote Sensing Organization to take immediate steps and ensure that the entire data is appropriately uploaded on the official website.

The Bench directed that the registration/renewal of any of the houseboats/guesthouse/hotels/restaurants, shall be subject to a certification by the owners that they have removed all unauthorized and illegal structures which have been constructed by them and verification thereof by the LAWDA.

The Bench observed that the Dal Lake is a focal point of visit by all visitors to Kashmir. Lakhs of tourists, both international and national visit Srinagar and spend a large amount of time in and around the Dal Lake. However, it find that there are no public conveniences available around the Dal Lake to facilitate for the convenience of the visiting public. There appears inadequate arrangements for garbage disposal as well. Therefore the LAWDA and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation shall immediately identify appropriate points and take steps for creation of public toilets and Action taken reports be filed before the next date of hearing.

The Bench said that it also finds that several complaints have been made of unauthorized construction which needs to be continuously scrutinized. It is therefore essential to have all existing structures video-graphed as well as photographed and a record maintained thereof. The Bench said that the Principal District Judge, Srinagar has already been appointed as a Nodal Officer and is directed to video-graph and photograph all buildings and structures in and around the Dal Lake and also plot the same on a site plan.

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