Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority tells High Court state govt has granted Rs 20 crore to arrest Baliyanala landslides

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The Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority on Wednesday informed the High Court that the state government has granted Rs 20 crore to the Irrigation Department to take care of the difficulties created by the landslides in Baliyanala area.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice N.S. Dhanik heard a PIL filed in 2018 seeking directions to the respondents to take urgent steps for preservation and conservation of the Hill Area adjacent to Baliyanala leading to the Jeolikote.

In pursuance of the order dated 17.11.2021,  S.A. Murugesan, the Secretary, Department of Disaster Management, joined the High Court through video conference. Murugesan submitted that with regard to the short-term measures, about 10 steps have already been taken which are stated in the affidavit filed by him on November 13.

Moreover, the Government has granted a separate budget for Baliyanala. The Government has granted Rs 20 crore to the Irrigation Department to take care of the difficulties created by the landslides in Baliyanala area.

Furthermore, initially, the Government had taken the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for studying the difficulties of the Baliyanala area for taking care of the same. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese company could not carry out the work. Hence, the services of GENSTRU Consultants Private Limited, an Indian Company based in Pune, has been taken by the Government. The said company is studying the topography, geography, and sub-surface of Baliyanala in order to submit its data report. For the same, at least six months are required, Murugesan added.

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Furthermore, although three Landslides Monitoring Systems were installed in the Baliyanala area, due to heavy rains which occurred on October 18 and 19, 2021, two Landslides Monitoring Systems have been washed away. Therefore, it will take about a month’s time to replace, and to install two Landslides Monitoring Systems in the said area.

Murugesan  further reiterated the facts that already meetings were held on 02.11.2021 under his Chairmanship, and on 12.11.2021 under the Chairmanship of the learned Chief Secretary. In both the meetings directions were issued to the District Magistrate, and the Irrigation Department to complete the work as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Syed Nadim, the petitioner-in-person, contended that the affidavit filed by Murugesan is merely eye-wash as the facts stated in the affidavit are not borne out in reality.

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But before the Court can accept the oral submissions of the petitioner-in-person, the Bench deemed it imperative that the petitioner file an affidavit to the compliance affidavit filed by Murugesan to substantiate his allegations and pleas.

The Court therefore listed the matter on December 29 and granted three weeks time to the petitioner to file a supplementary affidavit. The presence of Murugesan, the Secretary, Disaster Management, is dispensed with for the future by the High Court.

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