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Consider using drones to monitor Dal Lake area: HC

Dal Lake

Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the authorities here to explore the possibility of using drones to keep an eye on illegal constructions in and around Dal Lake as part of the efforts to save the famous water body.

“The LAWDA (Lakes and Waterways Development Authority) should also explore feasibility of making use of aerial/drone cameras (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for photography of lake and adjoining area to achieve the targets,” a division bench of the High Court observed during hearing of a PIL yesterday.

The bench, comprising justices Hasnain Masoodi and Ali Muhammad Magrey, directed the LAWDA to get the matter examined by experts and carry out the exercise within a reasonable time frame.

“Let such exercise be made within a reasonable time. In the meantime, we expect the DGP to take a decision in the matter as regards installation of CCTVs, reported to be lying on his table, by next date of hearing,” the court said.

The bench also observed that if the proposal was cleared, funds should be made available.

The bench made the directions and observations after perusing the compliance report filed by the Inspector General of Police Kashmir in which he informed the court that a proposal for installing CCTVs for keeping a vigil in areas both within and surrounding the lake is pending consideration of Director General of Police.

All CCTVs, installed at entry points must have recording facility and be connected to Control Room so transportation of building material within and around Dal Lake area is effectively monitored, it added.

The court also has ordered sealing of a number of illegal structures in Dal Lake which, according to court-appointed Vigilance Commissioners, look like houseboats and have been advertised on the Internet for commercial purposes.

The commissioners — retired session judge Mohammad Shafi Khan and former SSP Abdul Hamid Bhat — have reported to the court that these structures sit on wooden logs nailed into the lake bed.

“The facilities created were even advertised on social media and websites,” the commissioners said in their report.

The report said another such structure within the lake for the purpose of stationing or mooring a houseboat also looks like a houseboat.

“Let all the facilities/structures and constructions detailed in the report be sealed/attached forthwith,” the bench said directing the LAWDA to file compliance report by November 26.

“The law enforcing agencies, that is, superintendent of police and SHO concerned shall extend necessary cooperation to officers of LAWDA for implementation of the order,” the court added.

The court also directed government to set up hoardings at all entry points, informing the general public regarding prohibition of transportation of building material to the lake area beyond the naka points.

“It would be appropriate to use print and electronic media in this regard so that the vehicle owners stop providing services to the persons adamant on raising constructions in violation of law,” the court said.

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