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HC asks govt agencies to facilitate SDA in satellite imagery of Sonamarg hill resort

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has asked the concerned government agencies to cooperate with Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) for finalizing the satellite imagery of the hill resort.

The direction followed submission by government advocate Ilias Laway, appearing for the SDA, that “the process of getting the satellite imagery is in good progress. However, it can be completed within a month or so as it involves consultation with the Chief Town Planner, Town Planning Organization, Kashmir, and the Director Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing Department, Srinagar.”

Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary, who presided over the bench, directed that the copy of today’s order on the matter be furnished to all the authorities so that there shall be no delay on their part to render cooperation to the SDA.

As regards the other directions issued in November last year, the court was informed that the needful will be done and the compliance submitted before the court by the next date of hearing.

Given the spree of illegal constructions in Sonamarg by the who is who of power structure of the erstwhile State, the court has imposed a blanket ban on the constructions in the tourist resort.

The court had previously directed that in order to properly understand the actual use of land for various purposes including accommodation mentioned in the Master Plan, the SDA would be required to submit before it an affidavit.

The affidavit should explain “using satellite imagery of the various constructions and facilities already existing on the Sonamarg Tourist Resort by identifying each and every such construction to enable us to examine that these constructions/land use are within the permissible limit”, directed the court.

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

The official affidavit had said “a 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 court had directed the BOCA “to proceed with the various applications pending before it and consider them 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 the court after hearing all the concerned parties and considering the various aspects involved in the matter,” the bench directed afterwards.


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