HC Orders Freeze on Constructions in Pahalgam

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday ordered freeze on all constructions within Pahalgam to protect its ecologically fragile environs from further destruction and damage.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed that all constructions in “impermissible areas shall be frozen and no further construction shall be allowed even in permissible areas.”

The court directed if any repair or renovation of existing structures was required, same shall be strictly in accordance with law and in tune with the Master Plan. 

It also directed approval of revised draft Master Plan for the Pahalgam and directed that it shall also take care of existing structures of both in wildlife and forest area.

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.

The court also ordered launching of separate website for wildlife sanctuary in Pahalgam and referred an example of Gulmarg sanctuary so that the people are made aware about the species as also those which are endangered in the sanctuary. 

It also directed putting the latest census of wildlife on website and for the purpose, granted four weeks time to authorities. 

The court also took notice of littering of garbage in and around the world famous health resort and directed the authorities to take care of the issue and save the Pahalgam from pollution. 

Secretary Revenue and Secretary Tourism, who were present in the court, informed it that two million letters of sewage was generated per day from different sources and the same is being treated. The court emphasized for making policy for garbage disposal.

Advocate General has informed the court that demarcation of different zones like forest zone, wildlife zone, construction zone, non-construction zone etc will take some time. It granted four weeks time and directed for putting the demarcation on website of Pahalgam Development Authority, deputy Commissioner Anantnag and Tourism department’s website.

The court was hearing the PIL filed by Peoples Welfare Organization Pahalgam through advocate Parvez Imroz. 

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