Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding rehabilitation of the residents who suffered from land subsidence in Nai Basti, Thathri, Jammu & Kashmir, 11/12/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of In re : News item published in Newspaper ‘The Hindu’ dated 04.02.2023 titled “19 families shifted after houses in J & K village develop cracks” dated 11/12/2023.

The matter is taken up suo-moto and it relates to the damage which was caused to 21 structures in Doda district in Chenab Valley in UT of Jammu and Kashmir since earth had started slipping.

Joint Committee constituted by Tribunal submitted its Report, recommending rehabilitation of the residents of affected 24 houses of Nai Basti, Thathri to a suitable safer location within the framework of applicable laws.

Jammu and Kashmir in its report stated that 14 cases have been identified where the structure on the land which have suffered cracks or destroyed and have come in ‘Red Zone’, suffered serious or full damage but UT found that commensurating to the extent of damage, these people were not entitled for compensation since they were occupying land illegally and only some ex-gratia payment, UT has decided to be given to them.

The tribunal observed that 'occupation of the land in question and raising of construction by the affected persons, has been allowed due to inaction, inefficiency or lack of monitoring or supervision on the part of UTand its authorities and stakes have been allowed to be created on the land in question for the reasons attributable to State’s inaction". Hence, UT cannot absolve of its responsibility of compensating the people who have suffered loss or damages at the land in question for the reasons, not attributable to these persons, but man-made situations which also have arisen due to inaction on the part of UT and its authorities.

Thus, in such cases, Jammu and Kashmir is liable to pay compensation to the extent the damage has suffered by the people who have raised their structures on the land in dispute.

Principal Secretary stated that the committee headed by the Chief Secretary constituted by the NGT should be allowed to re-look in the matter and take appropriate decision "founded on welfare and humanitarian ground, to the people affected for the reasons, not attributable to them" and sought two weeks time to do so. The NGT, December 11 directed the matter to be re-examined and an action taken report be submitted within two weeks and listed the matter for February 13, 2024.