Encroachment:Tourist resorts turning into concrete jungles


Srinagar: World famous tourist resorts including Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam are turning into concrete jungles despite blanket ban on constructions-courtesy government apathy and the greed of businessmen to maximize profits on cost of natural beauty of Kashmir.

 Himalayan Welfare Organization that has been set up to save the ecology of Kashmir from degradation and check the inroads of encroachers in world famed tourist resorts believes that not only private businessmen and government officials are responsible for the mess, but equally responsible are the successive lawmakers and politicians of the state.

“In fact Ghulam Hasan Mir, MLA Gulmarg from 2002-14, Mian Altaf Ahmad, MLA Sonmarg from last two decades, Mehbooba Mufti MLA Pahalgam from 2002-04, Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed MLA Pahalgam from 2004-08 and Rafi Ahmad Mir MLA Pahalgam from 2008-14 should be held responsible as MLA,s for the environmental disaster these areas are facing. Even the Development Authorities created by late Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed after 2002 have played a crucial role in deforestation, concretization and ecological devastations of the green belts in their respective command areas in violation of hon’ble High Court order and recommendations and after having destroyed these places and having expanded their fangs to as far as Yaner and Movera, the land mafia now has its eyes on Tosmaidan,Verinag,Yousmarg,Ahrbal, Doodhpathri, Kokernag and Patnitop,” an active member of Himalayan Welfare Organization, Mushtaq Pahalgami told CNS.

The organization that is active on social networking sites including facebook and whatsapp frequently uploads latest photographs showing the extent of encroachment in tourist resorts. 

The organization claims that the owners of almost all the hotels found in Gulmarg, Pahlagam, Sonamarg have illegally encroached the state land in green belts. “Recently, even Legislative Assembly was informed by the government that a top hotelier has illegally occupied the land in Gulmarg. Our organization has wide support base and we are garnering the support of every conscious citizen in this regard. If greedy businessmen in connivance with bureaucrats and politicians continue to degrade ecology of the Valley, so it will turn out to be a desert,” Phalgami said.

“The ferrying of construction material including thousands of tons of cement in tourist resorts have been causing irreparable and permanent damage to our environment and ruining our water bodies. We have pledged to ensure only low impact tent-hut-home stay and small cottage resort model is allowed in these environmentally sensitive areas,” the organization said. (CNS)


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