Dal Lake conservation: HC pulls up J-K govt over buffer zone info

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The High Court today while expressing concern over the preservation of Dal lake directed the government to inform it about the steps taken with regard to buffer zone areas of the lake as declared in the new ‘Master Plan’, reported Daily Excelsior.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Puneet Gupta said the Master Plan is open for revision and modification as per the advice of the experts viz Town Planners, Environmentalists and the other stakeholders including the authorities responsible for the Smart City Project.

In this connection, Advocate General was asked to take appropriate steps to get the area of a buffer zone around the Dal lake re-examined by the authorities and place the same on record within six weeks.

In order to ascertain what has happened during the last two months, the court has felt it necessary to seek a response to be filed by the Vice Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Lakes Conservation and Management Authority, (JKLCMA) on affidavit by the next date.

As per the report, the court directed for listing the matter for further consideration on 16 November and made it clear that on the appointed date Vice Chairman, JKLCMA shall remain present with the direction to him to file objections and respond to all the applications filed by the aggrieved persons for renovation and repairs of structures within and around the lake in tune with the new MP.

The court has appreciated the work in preparation for Master Plan 2035 and already modified all its earlier orders with regard to the preservation and protection of Dal Lake and clarified that there shall be a continuous ban on new constructions in and around 200 meters of the periphery of the lake.

It is already clarified that the orders passed in the matter, starting from 2002 expressly prohibited new construction work and even carrying of building material in and around 200 meters from the periphery of water bodies and Dal lake.

In tune with the Master Plan-2035, subject to the outcome of the present proceedings, the court relaxed the 200-meter limit, by defining buffer zones of 20 to 100 meters from the periphery of the concerned water body, depending on the area concerned, reads the report.

As per the report, the Master Plan has categorized the utilization of lands in the buffer zone for the purposes of parks and gardens. The land use for parks and gardens ranges from, play fields and floriculture nurseries, to amusement parks and swimming pools mentioned in the new MP, the court said, the same is aimed at preserving the natural beauty and ecology of the area while opening avenues of sustainable development.

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