Concerned HC Summons Officers to Safeguard Pahalgam  

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed commissioner secretaries of Tourism, Forest and Revenue departments as well as deputy commissioner Anantnag and Chief Executive Officer of Pahalgam Development Authority to appear before it on August 21. 

A division bench of Chief Justice Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice M. K. Hanjura passed the directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, seeking courts directions to protect Pahalgam, one of Valley’s premier health resorts. 

Earlier this year, the court had sought a detailed report from government about the issues regarding revised Master Plan for Pahalgam.

Based on recommendations by an expert committee, the revised master plan was approved by the cabinet under the chairmanship of then Chief Minister, late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, on 8 September 2015. 

The copy of the revised master plan was later placed before the high court which on 16 September 2015 sought detailed clarifications on a number of issues from the government.  

Sixteen months later, the secretary to government tourism and culture department filed a status report before the court.

“On perusal of the report, we feel that the same does not deal with the issues that were required to be dealt with,” the court said during the hearing of PIL filed by Peoples Welfare Organization Pahalgam through advocate Parvez Imroz. 

It had directed for a detailed report regarding the decision taken by the committee which the government says is dealing with the issues raised by the court.  

The earlier approved Master Plan 2005-2025 of Pahalgam was revised on the directions of the High Court in 2011 amid its observations that it was flawed and prepared with malafide intentions.

The revision was ordered so that basic facilities, development works and recreational avenues for the tourists can be created in a planned manner by adhering to strict procedural and environmental norms, as laid down in the Master Plan.

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