The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday ordered the government to take decision on framing of Master Plan for eco-fragile world famous ski resort of Gulmarg within four weeks.
A division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and justice B S Walia directed the Government to take a decision in the matter and report to court by next date of hearing.
Defending the government in the Public Interest Litigation seeking preservation of Gulmarg environs, Deputy Advocate General Fayaz Ahmad Mir told the court that decision on approval of the Master Plan would be expedited and compliance would be filed within four weeks.
On December 21, last year, the Advocate General had informed the court that the Draft Master Plan for Gulmarg would be placed before the cabinet for its approval and on the basis of the statement Government was as asked to take decision at the earliest and file the compliance report by the next date of hearing.
In his compliance report that the Chief Executive Officer Gulmarg Development Authority filed in keeping with the court order of December 21, 2016, it was stated that the final presentation of the Master Plan was made before the Chief Minister on June 1, 2016. The report revealed that as on date the approval of the same by the Cabinet is awaited.
Following the perusal of the report, the bench held that the "compliance report appears to have conspicuously skipped the mention of the date when it has been submitted to the Cabinet and if at all it is submitted to it".
On the submission by senior advocate Z A Shah that there is no policy of the government with regard to alotees whose lease has expired or was cancelled by the government, the court said: "it is an issue and the government should take a decision in the matter".
While CEO GDA submitted that he has received some more applications seeking permission for affecting renovations or repairs which he has referred to the Judges' Committee, the bench reconstituted the panel which would now have M Y Wani, Registrar Judicial and Farooq Ahmad Bhat, Joint Registrar Judicial as members.
The court asked the Judges' panel to visit the spot on any non-working day and submit report before the next date of hearing.
The court disagreed with regard to the submission by the State Counsel that no other report was filed on behalf of other state functionaries on steps taken for removal of encroachments or putting a restraint on the fresh constructions as no direction to that effect was issued.
"Any sort of construction, encroachment or any other activity taking place at Gulmarg of which a note has been taken earlier by this court from time to time revolving around the subject is reported to this court with utmost dispatch without waiting for any specific direction in this behalf," the court said.
"It is a duty cast on all the functionaries of the State to maintain the glory and beauty of the world famous tourist resort to maintain its standard in all its forms and keep on informing this Court about any type of progress made in that direction," it added.