Himachal Pradesh HC strict on illegal dumping in Govind Sagar lake seeks reply by June 12

Himachal Pradesh HC strict on illegal dumping in Govind Sagar lake seeks reply by June 12

Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued notices to the Forest Secretary, Chief Conservator of Forests, DFO Bilaspur, Additional Director of Fisheries, NHAI Director PIU Mandi and Kiratpur-Nerchowk Highway Authority Limited.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Virendra Singh has summoned the response of the authorities on the PIL.

This notice was issued taking strict cognizance of a public interest litigation. In the petition, it was said that the debris of the Kiratpur-Namnali foreplane was illegally dumped in the Govind Sagar Lake. 

Filing a petition in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, petitioner Madan Lal alleged that the soil released during the construction of the Kiratpur-Nerchowk National Highway is being illegally dumped in the Govind Sagar Lake. The petitioner complained about this several times to the authorities, but the officer is not aware of it.

The petitioner has said that the Govind Sagar lake located in Bilaspur and Una district is named after the tenth Guru of Sikhism Shri Govind Singh Ji. The lake is home to 51 species of fish such as the silver carp, being an important fishery reserve of the Himachal Pradesh government. Fishes like water chestnut and mahseer breed here. Despite this, the life of fish is also being spoiled by illegal dumping here.

It has been told in the petition that an 8-member Joint Inspection Committee was formed under the chairmanship of SDM Bilaspur. In its report, the committee has mentioned about 10-12 pits near Govind Sagar lake.

The committee found that debris is dumped illegally in these ravines and this debris is reaching the Govind Sagar lake. Due to this, the fisheries department and fishermen are suffering huge losses. Illegal dumping of debris in the reservoir is adversely affecting fish production and affecting the earnings of fishermen.

The petitioner has alleged that according to the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, fish production has come down from 1,492 metric tonnes in 2014 to only 250 metric tonnes in 2022. There has been a huge reduction in fish production. This has negatively affected the livelihood of three thousand families.

The petitioner has demanded the Himachal Pradesh High Court to direct the respondents to remove the illegally dumped debris in the Govind Sagar Lake, from where the water flows into the Govind Sagar Lake. The petitioner has prayed that an inquiry be ordered into the loss of livelihood of the poor fishermen. Also, there should be an inquiry against the responsible officers and employees. The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the respondents to ensure that no illegal dumping of debris is done in the Govind Sagar Lake.

Now the hearing of the case will be held on June 12.

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