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“Finalize Master Plan for Gulmarg in 3 weeks or face action”

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HC tells GDA…

By: Rashid Paul

Srinagar, Feb 27: The J&K High Court on Tuesday granted three weeks time to Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) for finalization of the Master Plan for the famed winter ski resort of Kashmir which is strained by encroachments and pollution.

The proceedings in the public interest petition started with an application by the Additional Advocate General seeking three weeks for finalization of the Master Plan for the area that shall guide constructions and other activities within it.

A two-judge bench including Justices M Yaqoob Mir and A M Magrey hearing the case granted the three weeks time to the government with a warning that “if any positive decision is not taken and status report not filed on the next date, the bench will be constrained to call for personal appearance of all the concerned officers who have delayed the process.”

The Pollution Control Board, another party in the case, also submitted its report to the court wherein it stated that 14 A Category hotels having more than 19 rooms were inspected by it in December 2017.

Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in four hotels were found functional and samples were collected from these hotels and sent for analysis, whereas in five hotels STPs were found frozen; two hotels were found without any commercial activities and one STP was damaged due to winters, claimed its report.

The Board in view of the harshness of the winter and the consequent frozen position in Gulmarg, sought further time for filing fresh status report.

In compliance to the court direction of 27th December 2017, Chief Executive Officer, GDA submitted a report regarding the beneficiaries of the land leased out in the Gulmarg and the relevant details in the matter.

The report said that there were few difficulties on account of Gulmarg area being covered with snow and that the GDA required assistance of the revenue authorities for demarcation and consequent action for removal of the encroachments.

The court directed the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla “to provide all assistance whatever required and as shall be requested for by the Chief Executive Officer GDA”.

In the previous hearing, the Amicus Curie in the case had informed the court that a large number of violators had carried out constructions beyond leased-out premises in Gulmarg.

With regard to identification of villages which come under the jurisdiction of GDA, the court had directed the government to convene a meeting for finalizing the proposal forwarded by Chief Town Planner (CTP) and submit the latest status report.

In October this year, the High Court had directed CTP Kashmir to prepare and submit a proposal of areas falling under Gulmarg to Tourism department for immediate action.

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