Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday issued notice to Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Environment Science and Technology), Chairman, H.P. State Pollution Board and Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, in a matter pertaining to the non-release of water from the Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers as per orders of National Green Tribunal.

The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sandeep Sharma, passed these orders in a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as Public Interest Litigation, on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, by Narender Saini, Chairman, Dev Bhumi Environment Savior Forum, Mandi.

The petitioner has stated that as per the order passed by NGT, it is mandatory to release 15 to 20 per cent of water from dams.

“However, from March 27, 2022, onwards, only nominal water is being released from Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers” he alleged.

The petitioner has alleged that several requests were made to the concerned department and a complaint was also registered on the Chief Minister’s 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 the Pandoh and Barot dams. During an inspection, the water was released for a while, but as soon as the inspection party left, the water flow was again stopped. It has been further alleged that the dam authority is providing wrong information to the State Government that they are releasing water as per norms. The petitioner also stated that the 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 the 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 matter has been fixed for May 31.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.