HC asks govt to restore Sheikhsar water body

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Asif Iqbal
Srinagar, April 23: The Jammu and Kashmir high court has directed government to take necessary steps for restoration of Sheikhsar water body in Sumbal Bandipora district of north Kashmir.
Disposing of a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of JusticeM H Attar and Justice A M Magrey also directed government to comply with the Supreme Court judgment, directing eviction of illegal and unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, Shamilat Land for the common use of villagers.
The petition titles Public Interest Litigation Mir Mohammad was filed in 2011, seeking directions to immediately halt the earth filling and all construction work particularly of play ground and construction of link road through SSA school Sumbal in and around Sheikhsar Rakhi Asham waterbody.
The petitioner had also sought directions to the government to remove all types of encroachments and take charge and control of Sheikhsar water body area into own hands and restore its original status.
“This writ petition is disposed of in terms of orders passed from time to time by this court and respondents are further directed to take necessary steps for restoration of the water body which is subject matter of this writ petition in light of the court committee report and also comply with the judgment of Supreme Court reported in AIR 2011 in case titles Jagpal Singh Vs State of Punjab and Ors,” the division bench said.
The Apex Court had directed all the State Governments that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal, unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and their restoration for the common use of villagers of the village.
For this purpose, the apex court had directed the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments.
“The scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession,” the apex court had said.