Saving Tourist Resorts: HC Miffed Over ‘Lackadaisical’ Approach

Srinagar—The high court on Thursday expressed deep anguish over the “lackadaisical” approach of the authorities in saving the tourist resorts in Jammu and Kashmir and ordered finalizing of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and environment Impact Management Plan (EIMP) for Sonmarg so that comprehensive status report was submitted before the court.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice MK Hanjura came down heavily on the authorities for casual approach in saving the tourist resorts.

The court observed that it was compelled to reopen the matter which was closed way back in September 2015. Court has also impressed upon CEO of SDA to get the resort connected with geo-tagging.

Previously,the court underscored that the meadows, Thajwas glacier and river Sindh make the most of what Sonamarg health resort is and that the scenic beauty of the resort has to be maintained at any cost.

The High Court has already banned construction activity in Sonamarg after it revived a related Public Interest Litigation which it had already disposed off.

The Court has also already directed the concerned authorities to ensure proper management of solid waste and other non-biodegradable waste in and around the resort.

“The Sonamarg area, it is evident, has suffered serious environmental degradation because of apathy on the part of stakeholders. Essentially, there are four aspects to the Sonamarg area. The first is the attraction of the meadows in the Sonamarg. The very name, Sonamarg, reflects its actual nature, in the sense that it means ‘golden meadow’,” the court had observed previously.

Another aspect which needs immediate attention was the Thajiwas Glacier, the court had underlined and asked the Earth Sciences Department, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal, to submit a report whether it was receding or not.

“Another aspect which also requires immediate concern is the Thajiwas Wildlife Sanctuary and the associated forest areas.”

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