Rashid Paul

HC allows army to raise structures of HAWS at Gulmarg

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has ordered the authorities to allow the Indian Army to raise structures for their High Altitude Warfare School at the Gulmarg hill station.

It is pertinent to mention here that the High Court had in 2013 stepped in to save the famed ski resort from further ecological deterioration.  In a landmark ruling it had banned all the constructions and fresh leases of forest land observing that the ecology of Gulmarg was under a grave threat.

Hearing a plea by the applicant through assistant solicitor general of India, Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta today ordered “the applicant (Indian Army ) is permitted to carry out the works in terms of our order of 26th of October, 2018”.

The bench nullified an earlier (ban) order by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) saying “the order shall not come in the way of the applicant in carrying out the works”.

The applicant stated that the CEO GDA “is obstructing the Army in carrying out the work on the instruction of the Registrar Judicial of J&K High Court”.

The applicant also placed an order dated 19th of June, 2019 issued by the CEO, GDA based on a direction by the Registrar Judicial on 19.06.2019.

The direction stated that all permission of works issued by the Building Permission Authority at Gulmarg were kept in abeyance till further orders. It said that no material would be allowed to enter Tangmarg/Gulmarg beyond the limits of Toll Post Gulmarg.

The bench allowed the Army’s petition and said “the order of the CEO GDA cannot interdict our specific directions made on 26th of October, 2018”.

Acknowledging the pleas by some NGO’s and individuals that Gulmarg tourist destination was at risk due to encroachment and constructions, the J&K State High Court In 2013 and  2015 had banned all constructions inside the green woods of Gulmarg.

The court had also directed that no building or constructional material shall be transported to Gulmarg.

The court confirmed that most of the construction activities at Gulmarg were illegal and directing authorities to forthwith seal illegal structures.

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