Gulmarg Forests: HC directs action against violators
Asks Revenue authorities to inform it about encroachments there
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the Chief Conservator Forests J&K to examine and take action against those involved in the usage of chemicals in Gulmarg, as a result of which trees are dying at the tourist area.
The direction was passed by a division bench in an application saying that certain chemicals were being used in the tourist area of Gulmarg which has resulted in the death of a number of trees.
“This aspect of matter needs to be examined by the Forest Department. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K, as well as to the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, should ensure that the matter pointed out in the report regarding the dying of trees is looked into. They shall conduct the physical inspection and take action in accordance with law and an action taken report shall be filed before the next date of hearing,” directed a bench comprising Chief Justice Gital Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta.
Commenting on the constitution of a team by Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla to conduct a spot verification and demarcation of forest and state land “encroached by influential people at Gulmarg”, the court said “it appears that other than appointing a committee, no action seems to have been taken by the Deputy Commissioner.”
The Deputy Commissioner was also required by the court to ensure inspection of the illegal properties in the area.
“The Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, shall ensure that the orders passed by this court directing recovery of all properties, which are in illegal and unauthorized occupation, including encroachments are complied with,” the bench directed.
The officer has been directed to file an action taken report on the matter before the next date of hearing.
“We make it clear that in case action taken report is not filed as ordered above, we shall be compelled to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act 1997 for non-compliance of our orders,” the court warned.
The court earlier directed the government to take immediate steps for retrieval of public land which is under unauthorized occupation and encroachment in Gulmarg.
On the encroachment of forest land of 13 marlas allegedly by Hotel Khyber Resort and 7 marlas by Hotel Castle, the court had directed that “both the Khyber Hotel and Castle Hotel shall not obstruct the Tehsildar and forest authorities from visiting the properties and demarcating the land.”
On the issue of alleged encroachment of public land by Pride Resort, another hotel, the court directed the Divisional Forest Officer and the Tehsildar of Gulmarg to visit the resort and inform it about the status of this property.