SRINAGAR The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has appointed two advocates as local commissioners to ascertain official claim regarding plantation of 6000 coniferous trees in Pahalgam in south Kashmir.
The direction by a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan passed the orders after perusing a status report by the Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority, and hearing counsel for the petitioner.
The CEO stated that in 1st week of April, more than 6000 conifer plants have been planted in and around Pahalgam out of the total of 7500 conifer plants which have been received from the Forest Department. He submitted that remainder of conifer plants will be planted in Aru Valley in Pahalgam after the melting of snow from the snow clad area. We direct the respondents to give us the mapping of the plantation of 6000 coniferous trees.
Advocate P. Imroz, counsel for the petitioner, said that the claims made by the respondent are not to be accepted inasmuch as even if they have planted any tree, still the same have not been maintained or preserved which has resulted in the wilting of the most of saplings as per the available reports. In view thereof, direction is issued to the respondent to place on record a copy of site plan and the mapping of the places where the saplings have been planted.
P. Imroz expressed that an independent assessment of the fate of plantation is required to be made. We, therefore, appoint Mrs. Arifa Jan and Rizwan. A. Bhat, Advocates, as Local Commissioners in this matter. Official respondents shall ensure that the geographical mappings of the conifer trees on a site plan are made available to the Local Commissioners within one week from today, the court said, adding, The Local Commissioners shall visit the spots marked on the site plan by the official respondents and submit a report to this Court with regard to correctness of the site plan as well as the condition/status of planted saplings.
The Local Commissioners shall be paid an amount of Rs. 25000 each by Hotel Grand Mumtaz Resort, Pahalgam, the court said. It shall be the responsibility of the Hotel Grand Mumtaz Resorts, Pahalgam, to ensure availability of appropriate conveyance. The actual secretarial expenses incurred by the Local Commissioners on photography, typing etc. which shall also be borne by Hotel Grand Mumtaz Resorts, Pahalgam, the court said, adding, The fees shall be paid to the Local Commissioners within a period of one week from today. The Local Commissioners shall file their report within two weeks thereafter.
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