Vision document' on Gulmarg | File Compliance report by Nov 29: HC asks Com Secy Tourism 

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

Srinagar, Nov 18: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has sought to know about the formulation of the ‘vision document’ regarding the Gulmarg in keeping with its directions, notwithstanding the Master Plan in place for the resort in north Kashmir.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Ali Mohammad and Justice Vinod Chatterji Kou asked Commissioner Secretary Tourism Department to file an affidavit in compliance to its directions.

The Court’s direction came  after Ilyas Nazir Laway, government advocate, submitted that a report has been filed by the Chief Executive Officer Gulmarg Development Authority in compliance to the directions the court passed in its July 22 order, stating therein that an “endeavour of seeking inputs from various authorities” for framing of the vision document has been made. The government  counsel  also sought time from the court for preparing the vision document.

Observing that it has become necessary to ask the Commissioner Secretary to Government Tourism Department to file affidavit, indicating steps taken for ensuring compliance of order passed on 22.07.2022, the court asked the officer to call all the departmental heads for furnishing the required material for taking decision and seek appropriate approvals on the decision required by the competent authority.

The Court directed all the authorities who were required to be associated for ensuring compliance of order passed on 22.07.2022 to make available their cooperation and the material before the Commissioner/Secretary Tourism. “We also expect that the Advocate General will convene a meeting of all the concerned officers to ensure that a consolidated response is prepared and filed before this Court by the Commissioner/Secretary Tourism Department,” the Bench said.

The needful shall be done by or before the next date of hearing on November 29, it said.

On July 22, the court had ordered the formulation of the vision document to be based on the considerations like environment, forest lands, average number of tourists visiting in Gulmarg, existing hotels with bed capacities, sanitation, installation of bio digesters etc.

The court has also asked the government to frame policy in respect of Hotels/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 court said the cases where lease has expired and hotels/hutments and other structures are existing, the government should reveal whether the Government 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 had asked the government whether any area was clearly earmarked or demarcated for construction of hotels, hutments and structures, it had also asked for delineating the manner and method the unbuilt areas were to be dealt with.

It had also asked the government how the areas beyond the areas notified under the Master Plan are to be handled and treated.

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