Unhindered constructions mutilate Pahalgam
Moratorium Honoured In Breach
Pahalgam, Dec 18: Despite repeated recommendations by the Tourism and Ecology & Environment departments for imposing a five-year moratorium on building activity in the commercial sector in Pahalgam, concrete structures continue to come up in this famous tourist resort of south Kashmir.
During the last two decades this resort is changing into a large concrete town with commercial structures coming up at an unsustainable pace.
In 2007, the then Assistant Director Tourism, vide letter no. 795-99/TOP addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), expressed concern over the large-scale construction.
“The building activity in Pahalgam is going on at such a fast pace that it could harm the ecology of the area irreparably and denude Lidder valley of its unique character. Any imbalance with the elements of nature can have serious repercussions for the ecology and economy of the whole area. Thus it is requested to impose a building moratorium for five years and only allow repairs, face-lifting and reconstruction of the already existing structures after proper permission and the building permission be limited only to the local residents strictly for residential purpose with strict building guidelines,” he wrote.
Subsequently, the Directorate of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing, too endorsed the five-year moratorium proposal, adding that provisions of Environment Protection Act be implemented in letter and spirit.
“But to the contrary, large commercial structures including huts and hotels are coming up in the ecologically vulnerable zones despite the accommodation available, in both private and public sector, being more than sufficient to cater to the current demand,” sources in the Building And Operations Controlling Authority (BOCA) said.
Besides, there are private properties mostly belonging to locals with a capacity of about 2000 beds that provide accommodation to tourists during peak season and on weekends. Moreover, tented accommodation is also made available by JKTDC and various private camping agencies according to market demand.
Sources further said JKTDC alone has the capacity to erect tented accommodation with a capacity of another 4000 beds which can be enhanced when required. Also there are many sites in state land available at Nunwan, Ganesbal, Aru, Frislan, Mamlan, Mandian and Athnadan and Pahalgam which have the potential of enhancing temporary seasonal accommodation by thousand more beds if basic amenities like mobile or permanent toilets are made available.
Chief Executive Officer, PDA, Waheed Ahmad Tak, said, “It is true that Pahalgam along with its surroundings has been turned into a jungle of concrete structures. I have taken up this issue with the Chief Minister recently. I hope we will come up with some plan.”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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