Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed authorities to provide details of the extent and particulars of the persons encroaching on the state and forest land in Gulmarg, the ecologically fragile area in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mital and Justice Puneet Gupta directed the government’s revenue and forest department to submit details of the total state and the forest land respectively in the Gulmarg within two weeks. The court has also sought the details of the land which is in “actual possession of the State”.
The direction by the court followed perusal of a report filed by the Divisional Forest Officer, Special Forest Division Tangmarg in compliance of court’s August 24 order.
“We had noted that the respondents (government) refer to encroachments of various forest land without giving any details of the same. Some of these encroachments are by major hoteliers in the Gulmarg area,” the court said, adding, “It appears that valuable forest land has been encroached and the encroachments are being permitted to be perpetuated with impunity. This is a serious matter which needs to be looked into.”
The court also directed the Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority to proceed in accordance with law against all those persons who have violated the building permission which required the structures to be made of wood whereas concrete structures have been raised.
Meanwhile, Additional Advocate General M A Chashoo submitted that a committee has been constituted by Chief Secretary for resolving the dispute between the Forest and Revenue authorities. The committee is headed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, he said.
Advocate Hakim Suhail, representing some applicant in the matter, drew the court’s attention to the contradiction in the reports of the Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, and the Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority. He pointed out that in the report of the Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla that there are 18 structures which have no lease at all.
“Let these reports be placed before the newly constituted Committee headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir who shall ensure that the matter is verified on the physical inspection and true position is placed before this Court before the next date of hearing,” the court said. (GNS)
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