High Court orders formulation of Vision Document on Gulmarg

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed formulation of ‘vision document’ regarding the Gulmarg, “notwithstanding the Master Plan” in place for the world famous Ski resort in north Kashmir.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani said that the formulation of a vision document should be based on the considerations like environment, forest lands, average number of tourists visiting Gulmarg, existing hotels with bed capacities, sanitation, installation of bio digesters etc.

The court also asked the government to frame policy in respect of hotels and hutments and other structures existing in and around Gulmarg Bowl having come up either with or without permission of the authorities and requiring repairs and maintenance on account of harsh weather conditions during winter.

The cases where lease has expired and hotels/hutments and other structures are existing, the court said, the government should reveal whether it proposes to extend lease in such cases and if so on what terms and conditions.

“In case the lease is not agreed to be extended, how the hotels/hutments and other structures existing thereupon the land wherein the lease has expired would be dealt with.”

While the court asked the government whether any area was clearly earmarked or demarcated for construction of hotels, hutments and structures, it also asked the government to delineate the manner and method the unbuilt area(s) have to be dealt with.

It also asked the government how the areas not notified under the Master Plan are to be handled and treated.

Government has also been asked to inform how to attend to the immediate needs of the people living in Gulmarg, using their residential properties.

“What should be the mechanism in place to deal with the issues of maintenance of roads, pony tracks, horse riding, tracking, children parks etc. and how a proper balance between development, growth and environment would be ensured in Gulmarg,” the court asked.

The government, the court said, shall also inform what is the status and position of the site of dumping of solid waste and how the same is being managed.

The court also asked the government to inform as to what is the position and status of Forest Land and Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary. The government has been asked to provide a comprehensive and point to point response of all these directions by the next date of hearing on September 16.

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