|Early Times Report|
Jammu, July 21: The J&K High Court has ordered removal of all illegal constructions near river Tawi bed, in the much publicized PILs filed by Advocates Dewakar Sharma and Ashish Sharma.
A Division Bench of the court comprising Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta, after hearing both the sides and after considering the status report filed by the members of Monitoring Committee as well as the statement of Advocate SS Ahmed, observed that it seems there is a strong nexus between mining mafia and the authorities of Jammu Municipal Corporation, Jammu Development Authority, Geology & Mining Department as well as police authorities and the persons who are undertaking illegal construction around the bed of Tawi despite complete ban by this court on 17.11.2016 on such activities right from Nagrota to Belicharana.
Upon this Division Bench directed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to personally convene a meeting of concerned officers of Police Department, JMC, JDA, Tourism Department, Housing & Urban Development Department, Geology & Mining Department, Irrigation & Flood Control Department, J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) and National Building Construction Corporation, so as to ascertain whether the orders passed by this court on 29.07.2016, 17.11.2016, 28.12.2016, 06.02.2017, 17.07.2017, 25.08.2017, 25.09.2017 and 01.11.2017 have been complied with or not.
The court further directed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to make full proof arrangement so that no illegal extraction of mineral mining is done any more from river Tawi in terms of order dated 17.11.2016 as also no illegal construction is made around the bed of river Tawi.
The court also directed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu that concerned agencies be directed to make survey and forthwith remove/dismantle the illegal constructions/encroachments, whether residential or commercial, which have been made or is being made on the state land near bed of Tawi right from Nagrota to Belicharana up to Phalai Mandal and positively file a compliance report before this court on the next date of hearing.
Such concern was earlier also shown by the court while delivering judgment in WPPIL Nos.19/2014 and 20/2013, in case titled as, Balbir Singh vs State & others, decided on 12.02.2016, whereby it was directed that for preserving the sanctity of Tawi from being polluted by the waste and toxic water emanating from authorized/unauthorized colonies alongside river Tawi, stringent and effective measures be taken positively within a period of two months from the date of judgment, i.e., 12.02.2016.
The court further directed that in identifying the illegal construction, Divisional Commissioner to also take the help of members of Monitoring Committee, which has specifically stated in its latest status report that even after the ban of illegal construction, the same is being done clandestinely.
The court also directed that Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to identify all constructions coming and falling on either side of River Tawi, from its fringe line, either government or individual, whether such constructions are authorized/unauthorized, and prepare a list of such constructions, so that such constructions are removed. Those constructions, which are authorized one, shall be compensated and rehabilitated at some other place, as has been done in case of Dal Lake dwellers. It is further directed that after undertaking the process of preparation of list of constructions and removal thereof, the vacant land shall be handed over to Parks and Gardens Department of Jammu and Kashmir for beautification of river Tawi bed. Such directions have already been passed in paragraphs-9 & 10 on 17.11.2016 in the instant petitions.
The Divisional Commissioner, Jammu was also directed to produce the list on affidavit of all such constructions including removed/dismantled on the next date of hearing.
The court observed that in case any officer/official of law enforcing agencies, particularly Police Department, Geology & Mining Department, Jammu Development Authority, Jammu Municipal Corporation, Irrigation & Flood Control Department is found involved in facilitating such illegal activities of construction and mineral mining, Chief Secretary of the State is directed to take stern action against such officer(s) and even demote such person(s) from his/her present place of posting.
The court also directed NBBC and Project Manager JK ERA to file fresh status report. It observed that in case of failure in complying/obeying the above directions well before the next date of hearing, the same shall amount to contempt of Court and the concerned officers/officials shall accordingly be proceeded against for commission of contempt of court.