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news details
Stone quarry: HC orders personal appearance of top officers if report not filed
11/24/2017 10:33:22 PM
Early Times Report
Srinagar, Nov 24: The state high court today directed top administrative officers to appear before it if they fail to file report by December 26, revealing steps taken for those persons affected by the ban on stone quarrying in Jammu and Kashmir.
As the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation started before the court comprising Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey, counsel for the petitioner, advocate Ghulam Murtaza submitted that by virtue of direction passed on August 23 authorities were required to file the fresh status report, indicating as to what steps have been taken for rehabilitation of those whose stone quarry units were closed and no report so far has been filed.
Subsequently, the court directed in case the report was not filed by next date of hearing on December 26, then all the concerned officials shall appear in person before the court. The respondents in the PIL include Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Commissioner Secretary Forest, Deputy Commissioners of all concerned districts, Financial Commissioner Industries and Commerce Department, Commissioner Secretary Revenue and others.
The PIL was filed by one Sofi Arif Maqbool, a resident of Handwara, seeking an end to stone quarrying within forest demarcated areas in the state.
He had claimed that there has been unabated stone quarrying within forest areas for a long period and that ban on the quarrying "appears to be only on the papers."
The petitioner had also accused state authorities of lacking will to implement the orders of the court regarding the quarrying.
A senior officer of Industries and Commerce Department had informed the court that the government has formed districts level committees for Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara and Pulwama headed by respective deputy commissioners to identify alternative sites for stone quarrying these districts. However, the officer had said that due to the floods and elections in 2014, the matter could not be pursued by the committees. Present status is not known.
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