Govt Fails To Extend Lease Of Majority Of Gulmarg Hotels

SRINAGAR —  The state government has failed to extend the lease of majority of the hotels in the tourist resort of Gulmarg.

A senior official of tourism department admitted that the lease of 90% of hotels has expired and that of others is only valid for a year.

“Once granted lease rules can be extended upto 40 years and further it is extendable up to 10 years at the choice of government. However majority of the hotels are running here without lease,” said the official.

He said that though the authorities have “time and again issued notices to the hoteliers to vacate the land but due to political pressure no action could be taken in this regard,” he said.

Sources reveal that hundreds of kanals of land in Gulmarg has been occupied by people without any authority while others have managed the allotment on hundreds of kanals illegally.

According to officials the occupants are maintaining that they are in possession of the land for several decades and the area has also been developed by them after the permission by authorities.

Earlier J&K High Court had directed the government to “strictly adhere to the procedures of land lease in the ski resort so that no land is illegally occupied on the premises that have been grabbed for decades.”
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe had observed that there are persons who have no allotment of land in their favour and are in possession of hundreds of kanals of land without any authority of law.

Sources said that over the years those who were allotted a small portion of land have encroached upon hundreds of kanals of land.

Earlier the Court had dismissed a petition filed by owner of one of the hotels seeking renewal of lease land on the ground that others have not been evicted but only the petitioner has been signalled out.

Sources said that the government has now directed the authorities to file details of all those cases whose lease has expired. A hotelier admitted that most hotels are on the land the lease of which has expired and earlier governments have been assuring a “policy on renewal/ownership of such properties.”

“In the year 2006-07 the tourist resort of Gulmarg was to be converted into ownership properties under Roshni scheme which was scuttled”, said an official.

He added, “Several committees were constituted by successive regimes to renew lease of properties, but no action was taken later on.” KNS

 

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