PIL to save River Sindh: HC appoints commissioner

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court here on Wednesday appointed a commissioner to ascertain allegations levelled in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that illegal constructions have come up along the banks of River Sindh.

An official said that Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and Justice Hasnain Massodi appointed Registrar Judicial, Kaneez Fatima, as commissioner and directed her to inspect along with Tehsildar Kangan the site and submit report within two weeks.

The PIL was submitted by advocate Qazi Rashid Shamas. The petitioner alleges that structures were being built on the river bed at three places— Mamar, Murgund and Knagan in violation of various statutes.

“In the process water is getting polluted and if immediate steps for retrieving river from encroachments and removing illegal constructions are not undertaken, the river environment and the surrounding ecology faces threats and hazards,” reads the PIL.

The petitioner has also stressed that constructions were real environmental hazards and injurious to fragile river ecology and pose dangers to a sanctuary for hatching Trout fish located on the river near Kangan.

Downstream, the river passes through different villages like Mamar, Murgund and Kangan before merging into river Jehlum at Sumbal village.

“The water of the river is used for drinking besides irrigation of thousands of hectares of agricultural land by the villagers of the area,” says the PIL.

The also PIL alleges that the illegal constructions were going on unchecked before the eyes of authorities including Deputy Commissioner and the officers of Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Fisheries and Tourism Department.

“The authorities manning these do not seem to have raised any objection till date to stop these illegal constructions. It seems that these authorities have virtually stopped to discharge their duties towards maintaining the river and preventing its waters from getting polluted through the process undertaken by certain vested interests involved in the constructions,” the PIL says.