Tribune News Service
Srinagar, December 11. Taking serious note of the non-compliance of court directions by houseboat owners, the J-K High Court has observed that the government should explore the possibility of shifting the houseboats on the Dal Lake from their present position.
The high court observed that these houseboats could be shifted to the Doldrum area, which is another location inside the Dal Lake.
These observations were made yesterday by a Division Bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar.
The high court has been hearing a public interest litigation plea calling for the conservation of the Dal Lake and has been monitoring the efforts of the government in this regard for many years.
In a bid to prevent pollution in the lake and to supervise the state government’s efforts to conserve the lake, the HC had on October 29 directed the houseboat owners to shift their anchored houseboats from their existing position at the lake by 300 feet from the Boulevard Road, which forms the outer periphery of the lake.
The high court had ordered that the retrieval process of around 230 houseboats should be carried out within 10 days. However, the boat owners have so for shown non-compliance of the court directions, citing many reasons.
As the matter came up for hearing in the court yesterday, the court was told that the owners were yet to retreat the houseboats from their current position.
This prompted the Bench to observe that the houseboat owners were just “buying time.” Subsequently, the Bench observed that the “government shall now explore the possibility of shifting all houseboats from their current position to another location at the Dal lake, which is known as the Doldrum area”.
The court, however, did not specify any time frame, as the matter has been posted for further consideration in February next year.
The houseboat owners have so for resisted realignment or shifting of the houseboats, maintaining that realignment or shifting of the houseboats at the lake is a “Herculean task” and may require a lot of “time and effort”.
Currently, the Centrally-sponsored Dal Lake Cleaning and Conservation Project, which was started in 2005, is being implemented by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), Srinagar, under the court’s supervision. Over the years, the lake water has become polluted as sewage of hundreds of houseboats and hotels and houses on its periphery goes directly into the lake.