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Encroachment on Jhelum: HC pulls up IFC CEs, officials

Issues show cause notices to engineers for failing to protect Jhelum

‘Why each CE can’t be directed to pay Rs 5 Cr, SE Rs 3 Cr, Xen Rs 2 Cr, AEE Rs 1 Cr and JE Rs 1 Cr’

Sheikh Saleem

Srinagar, Nov 27: High Court has pulled up ChiefEngineers and top officials of the Irrigation and Flood Control (IFC) department and issued notices against them for failing to restrict encroachments along river Jhelum since 1996.

A division bench of the court issued public notices to the officials asking them to explain why they shall not be asked to deposit penalty for failing to save the river during their tenures.

The Public notices have been issued to ChiefEngineers asking them to show-cause why they shall not be directed to deposit Rs. 5 crores with the State treasury.

Similarly, each Superintending Engineer, Executive engineer (Xen), Assistant Executive Engineer and Junior Engineer has been told to explain why they should not be asked to deposit Rs 3 crores, Rs 2 crores, Rs 1 crore and Rs 10 lakh respectively.

“The huge population has badly suffered because of the floods in September 2014 and the subsequent failure of the officers to save the river Jhelum,” the division bench observed.

It further observed that in case response to the show cause notices is not filed by the officers, then appropriate orders will follow.

The division bench made it clear that if ultimately order for recovery is made then this amount will be spend for preserving and protecting the river Jhelum.

Earlier, Court hinted at taking action against the officers under whose tenure river Jhelum was encroached. The department has already provided a list of officers, who were posted along the course of the river since 1994.