Illegal constructions galore in Pahalgam vicinities
Authorities mute spectator
Pahalgam, Sep 10: With the High Court imposing ban on constructions in this famed tourist resort, the land mafia in collusion with some unscrupulous hoteliers have started eyeing adjoining tourist spots here.
Some highly influential persons are raising illegal structures in the Lidder river— a major source for trout.
Sources say many illegal constructions have already come up on the Government land as well as on the banks of the Lidder river in Yanad, Gujrani Batikote, Ganeshpora and Batikote barely few kms away from Pahalgam— disturbing fragile ecosystem and polluting the river.
“After the Court imposed ban on the constructions in Pahalgam, the land mafia and influential hoteliers have shifted their base to other tourist destinations which have not been included in the flawed master plan and kept outside the jurisdiction of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA),” sources said.
They said in Moora village of Yanad near the Rafting point, the land mafia had allegedly grabbed some 37 Kanals of State land and then sold it to some influential people. “Till now 25 huts and guest houses have come up there. Even the tourism department has designated it as hutment area, giving go ahead to these illegal constructions,” they added.
They said downstream Lidder, where the rafting culminates, a grazing land had also been encroached upon by the hoteliers with a concrete road having already been carved out of it as constructions continue to thrive there.
“This has disturbed the flora and fauna and is also damaging the trout. Few years ago, the Lidder Nallah in Yanad was rich source of Trout fish, but the construction of concrete structures near and even in the Nallah has severely affected its production, ” said an official of the Fisheries Department.
“In Gujrani Batikoot area, the influential people have plundered the huge forest area by resorting to felling of green pine trees to pave way for the illegal constructions with tacit support of forest officials,” sources said adding about 25 huts had already been erected there.
Sources said that in Amad which has been designated as wildlife zone, two huts had been raised by influential persons allegedly in connivance with the Wildlife officials while many more have illegally occupied land for construction purpose.
Similarly, sources reveal that all the building permission norms had been ignored while raising structures in Batikoot and Ganeshpora areas.
“In Batikote, the course of the river has been entirely changed and the constructions have come up barely 10 meters away from Lidder, thus disturbing its flora and fauna,” sources said. They said in Ganeshpora area two huts had come up barely few meters away from the Lidder.
“The solid waste is being dumped near the river while the sewage generated from the hotels and huts is directly poured into it,” sources added.
“We fail to understand that if the authorities have expressed concern over deteriorating condition of Lidder in Pahalgam, why aren’t they bothered about the same in the areas located downstream,” some of the officials added.
They suggested that in order to save these scenic spots from turning into concrete jungles like it has happened in Pahalgam, the government should wake up from the slumber.
“The five member committee formed by the Government on the recommendations of Court to submit report on the illegal structures and drafting of new Master plan in Pahalgam should bring all these areas under Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA).”
PDA Chief Executive Officer, Mir Altaf said, “though these tourist spots don’t fall within the development authority, but I have time and again raised the issue of saving these fragile zones with various departments including Fisheries, Irrigation and Flood control, Roads and Building (R and B) as well as Revenue.”
Mir said he had already conveyed to the higher ups including the Principal District and Sessions judge, Anantnag (Islamabad) about the need of bringing the areas under the purview of Development Authority in the revised Master Plan.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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