The Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority informed the High Court on Wednesday that the state government had granted Rs 20 crore to the Irrigation Department to deal with the hardships created by the landslides in the Baliyanala region.

The Division Justices of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice NS Dhanik heard a PIL filed in 2018 asking the respondents to take urgent action for the preservation and conservation of the hill area adjacent to Baliyanala leading to the Jeolikote .

Pursuant to the order of 17.11.2021, SA Murugesan, Secretary of the Department of Disaster Management, joined the High Court by videoconference. Murugesan argued that when it comes to short-term action, about 10 actions have already been taken which are set out in the affidavit he filed on November 13.

In addition, the government has allocated a separate budget for Baliyanala. The government has given 20 crore rupees to the irrigation department to deal with the difficulties created by landslides in the Baliyanala region.

In addition, as a first step, the government requested the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to study the difficulties of the Baliyanala region in dealing with it. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese company was unable to carry out the work. As a result, the services of GENSTRU Consultants Private Limited, an Indian company based in Pune, were retained by the government. Said company is studying the topography, geography and subsoil of Baliyanala in order to submit its data report. For the same, at least six months are needed, added Murugesan.

In addition, although three landslide monitoring systems were installed in the Baliyanala region, due to heavy rains on October 18-19, 2021, two landslide monitoring systems were washed away. Therefore, it will take about a month to replace and install two landslide monitoring systems in said area.

Murugesan also reiterated the fact that meetings had already taken place on 02.11.2021 under his chairmanship, and on 12.11.2021 under the chairmanship of the learned chief secretary. In both meetings, instructions were given to the district magistrate and the irrigation department to complete the work as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Syed Nadim, the applicant himself, argued that the affidavit filed by Murugesan is only eye drops, as the facts set out in the affidavit are not corroborated by reality.

But before the Court can accept the oral submissions of the petitioner in person, the Chamber found it imperative that the petitioner file an affidavit to the affidavit of compliance filed by Murugesan to support his allegations and pleadings.

The Court therefore closed the case on December 29 and allowed the applicant three weeks to file a supplementary affidavit. The presence of Murugesan, the secretary for disaster management, is suppressed for the future by the High Court.

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