Sonamarg Constructions: HC Seeks Quarterly Compliance Report

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    J&K High Court – File Photo

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed authorities to file compliance reports on quarterly basis in a calendar year regarding its various directions related to safeguarding Sonamarg from illegal constructions and preserving its fragile ecology.

“Status reports in terms of our orders shall be filed before this Court on quarterly basis in a calendar year and the first such report shall be positively filed on 15th of January, 2021, 2nd on 15th of May, 2021, 3rd on 15th of September, 2021 and the 04th one on or before 30th of December, 2021,” said a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta.

“The Sonamarg area, it is evident, has suffered serious environmental degradation because of apathy on the part of stakeholders,” the court had observed in one of the previous hearings.

Previously, the court said large scale unauthorised constructions are carried out In Sonamarg and is “absolutely imperative” to check this illegal activity.

“We find that in case, after case applications are being made for building permissions. On several occasions, the request is couched as a permission for renovation / repairs. On many occasions, we find the ruse of damage on account of snow or fire is put forth,” the court had said in the previous order in the last week of October.

“Under the shield of the permission so obtained, large scale unauthorised constructions, expansions and encroachments are being affected. Most of these are being sought and carried out by persons who have no right in the lands at all,” the court had said, adding, “It is absolutely imperative to check this illegal activity as the unauthorized construction in this eco-fragile area is irreversibly damaging the environment. The damage is such that it cannot be compensated monetarily. Not only the present populace, but the generations to come will have to pay the price for the environmental degradation.”

The court had directed that, in addition to the requirements made in the applicable law, all applications for sanction of building, construction, renovation or repairs in any building shall be accompanied by the an affidavit by the applicant that he / she is not in illegal occupation or possession of any public land/ forest land in the entire Jammu & Kashmir as well as Ladakh.

“If the property is leased/ licensed, then details of payment(s) of the charges with copies of the receipts.”

Also self authenticated copies of all documents establishing legal right of ownership, title, occupancy over the land on which construction, repairs and renovation is proposed be accompanied.

The court had also directed that documents such certificate from the Deputy Commissioner and DFO concerned that the land is not public land and/or forest land be accompanied besides copy of original sanctioned plan with all documents of original sanction, previous permissions for additions, repairs and renovation.

The applications shall be also accompanied with “videography and photographs of the land; existing building (full exterior and interior) as well as in relation to neighbouring properties/ buildings; Complete details (including exact location) of what is proposed to be undertaken which shall also be plotted on a site plan.”

“If such a request is favourably considered, then on completion of the work, completed site plan with colour marking of work undertaken; videography and photos of the completed work.”

The concerned authorities, the court had said, shall at all times have full access to the property to undertake its inspection(s) while the work is underway and after it is completed. “In no case will permission(s) be granted to persons having no right, title or interest to occupy the land in question.” (GNS)

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