The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday issued notice to the state government for less water release than the prescribed norms from the Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers as per orders of National Green Tribunal.
The notice was issued to the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Environment, Science and Technology), Chairman, HP State Pollution Board and Deputy Commissioner, Mandi and has asked them to file reply by 31 May.
The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sandeep Sharma, passed these orders in a petition taken up suo moto as Public Interest Litigation on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice by one Narender Saini, Chairman, Dev Bhumi Environment Savior Forum, Mandi.
The petitioner has stated that as per the order dated 9 August, 2017 of National Green Tribunal, it is mandatory to release 15 to 20 per cent water from dams. However, from 27 March 2022 onwards, only nominal water is being released from Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers.
The petitioner has alleged that several requests were made to the concerned department and a complaint was also registered on the Chief Minister helpline number.
The petitioner has further alleged that the issue was also brought to the notice of the Regional Pollution Control Board Bilaspur. The officials of the Pollution Control Board even conducted inspections of Pandoh and Barot dams during which the water was released for a while but as soon as the inspection party left, the flow of the water was again stopped.
It has been further alleged that dam authority is providing wrong information to the state government that they are releasing water as per norms. It has also stated by the petitioner that Pollution Control Board has issued several show cause notices to the dam authorities but no fruitful result has come out. The petitioner has alleged that this act of dam authorities can result in spreading of diseases. It is also a threat to the environment and aquatic creatures. It can also lead to scarcity of drinking water and irrigation due to inadequate water being released by the dam authorities.
The petitioner has submitted that he is working for protection of the environment and has sought indulgence of the High Court in the matter.