PIL Highlighting Havoc created due to Flash Floods in Niki Tawi Area

DB expresses displeasure over non-serious approach, directs personal appearance of CEO JTFRP


SRINAGAR, MARCH 5:While expressing displeasure over the non-serious approach of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department towards control of floods in River Tawi despite the creation of Jehlum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) way back in the year 2016, a Division Bench of the J&K High Court comprising First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sindhu Sharma has directed the personal appearance of the Chief Executive Officer of Jehlum Tawi Flood Recovery Project on the next date of hearing alongwith all the details. It was informed to the Division Bench that the CEO JTFRP happens to be CEO Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA).
While hearing the much publicized PIL filed by Inhabitants of Villages Barjala and Khandwal (Niki Tawi Area) through S. Gurdev Singh S/o S. Mehtab Singh R/o Khandwal and Ghulam Nabi Sheikh S/o Mukhta Sheikh R/o Barjala (Retd. Executive Engineer) highlighting damage caused annually to the Villages in Niki Tawi area, the Division Bench headed by First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal in the open court expressed deep concern over the indifferent attitude of the officers of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and observed, "Insensitivity of the officers is writ large as in year 2014, there were huge floods in rivers Tawi and Jhelum. About six years are going to pass but till date no permanent solution has been found. Annually temporary solutions are put in place wasting crores of rupees."
Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Supriya Chouhan and Mohd. Zulkarnain Chowdhary appearing for the petitioner submitted that I&FC Department except laying down the crates annually has not done anything concrete to avert the damage caused annually to more than 40 Villages in Nikki Tawi area due to flash floods. He further submitted that 90% of the discharge is towards the Nikki Tawi which was few years back was just an Irrigation Canal and negligible discharge is in Badi Tawi.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further drew the attention of the Division Bench towards para 4 of the status report filed by Monitoring and Appraisal Directorate Central Water Commission Jammu wherein it was pointed out that because of non-removal of certain deficiencies by the Jammu Development Authority to a project costing Rs.375.732 Cr + Rs.31.962 Cr, the same was deleted from the list of Appraisal by the Ministry of Jal Shakti Govt. of India.
Advocate Ahmed vociferously argued that the officers responsible for wastage of such a big project are required to be identified so that there responsibility is fixed.
The Division Bench after considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed directed that the Court shall also be apprised of the fact as to why various agencies /expert bodies in the Govt. of India were not consulted and proper response was not given to the queries raised by the Central Water Commission as mentioned in para 4 of the status report filed by Central Water Commi ssionAt this stage, Deputy Advocate General K.D.S. Kotwal appearing for Irrigation and Flood Control Department submitted that they have engaged a Consultant to guide for the ways and means to control the floods in two rivers i.e. Tawi and Jhelum.
The Division Bench further directed that the Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department Jammu who was present in person in the Court was also directed to remain present on the next date of hearing alongwith Chief Executive Officer Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project.

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