Friday, March 30, 2012

News Article: HC summons chief secretary in Ramgarh case

TNN Mar 13, 2012, 01.47AM IST

Tags:  Ramgarh Dam| Rajasthan High Court|  Jaipur Development Authority

JAIPUR: The state government received yet another rap from the Rajasthan High Court for its apparent 'casual approach' in reviving the city's lifeline for drinking water, the Ramgarh Dam, on Monday.

So displeased the court was with the government's attitude in following its directions regarding removal of encroachments from the dam's catchment area that it directed the chief secretary and nearly half-a-dozen principal secretaries to be present before it on Tuesday for hearing of the matter again.

When the case came up before Justice M N Bhandari on Monday, the state government submitted a sealed envelope on what action it took so far in pursuance of the Supreme Court directions in the case of Abdul Rehman with regard to restoring the country's water bodies.

In the Rehman case in 2004, the apex court had directed the Rajasthan government to restore all its natural water bodies to their statuses as existed on August 15, 1947 when the country gained Independence. From the initial hearings of the Ramgarh Dam's matter, the high court had been asking it to restore the dam to its 1947 status and also tell what action it had taken in compliance of the Supreme Court judgment.

As the state government earlier expressed its inability in restoring the dam to its pre-1947 status, Justice Bhandari allowed the officials to decide a cut off year to which the water body could be restored. Subsequently, the government informed court that it can restore the dam to its 1961 status. As such, all land allotments made after 1961 in violation of Section 16 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, which prohibits allotment of land in the bed of water bodies to private parties, were to be cancelled.

However, the state government changed its stand on Monday and informed it that restoring the dam to 1961 status was not feasible and that it could bring back the water body to its 2004 status only. Justice Bhandari took a serious view of the government's approach and verbally commented that the officials appeared causal in reviving the dam situated near Jamwaramgarh village.

The court was informed on Monday that the decision to reschedule the cut off year from 1961 to 2004 was taken at a meeting held on February 16 which was presided over by the chief secretary. The court, therefore, decided to summon the chief secretary and all the senior government officials who were present in the meeting. Principal secretaries of the forests, mines, irrigation, revenue and law departments as well as the Jaipur collector and the Jaipur Development Authority's commissioner were also present in this meeting.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

See the related articles-
2. News Article: HC tells govt to name officials who allotted land near Ramgarh dam
3.News Article: Rajasthan: No construction, lease in Ramgarh area-HC
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