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PIL on Sonamarg: HC directs BOCA to proceed with pending applications strictly in accordance with Master Plan

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Srinagar, Dec 02: In the PIL on haphazard constructions in the ecologically complex Sonamarg hill resort, the J&K High Court has directed the Building Operations Control Authority (BOCA) Sonamarg to proceed with the pending applications strictly in accordance with the Master Plan.

Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary directed the BOCA “to proceed with the various applications pending before it and consider the same strictly in accordance with the Master Plan and the available area as reflected in the records.”

However, any permission, if granted by the BOCA, will be implemented “only after being permitted by this court after hearing all the concerned parties and considering the various aspects involved in the matter,” the bench directed.

Listing the matter for further action in the last week of this month, the court directed the respondent authorities to “file the response as regards the serious threat to environment and unregulated traffic management because of the large number of local taxis (commercial) operating in the Sonamarg area.”

Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) filed an affidavit on accommodation infrastructure development in the hill resort.

He stated “as regards accommodation hotels, the proposed area as per Master Plan in hectares is 8.87 and the proposed plinth area would be 5.26 hectares and out of which already 3.25 hectares of plinth area has been consumed, thus leaving the plinth area of 1.98 hectares for category-I i.e., Hotels.”

He further stated “as regards to II-category, the Huts and integrated tourist resorts, the proposed area as per the Master Plan for accommodation is 26.20 hectares.”

The court noted that nothing has been indicated as to the proposed plinth area available or the consumed plinth area for huts and integrated tourist resorts.

The court was informed that certain areas are available in Sonamarg for construction of hotels, huts and integrated tourist resorts.

“The said chart, however, is conditional by the statement of the CEO, SDA to the effect that the comprehensive report for the various other facilities as per the Master Plan vis-à-vis factual report on ground and proposed land use would be completed once the proper satellite imagery is provided by National Remote Sensing Centre,” the statement said.

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