1500 illegal structures in Pahalgam: HC summons 3 Com Secys, DC Ang, CEO

1500 illegal structures in Pahalgam: HC summons 3 Com Secys, DC Ang, CEO

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on conservation of Pahalgam environs, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice M K Hanjura, disapproved of vandalism of important places.

Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday informed the High Court that as many as 1500 structures have come illegally in non-construction zones of Pahalgam health resort.

A status report by Pahalgam Development Authority through its chief executive officer attests 1500 structures as illegal in green-belt, forest and wildlife zones of Pahalgam and on either side of Lidder River. 

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on conservation of Pahalgam environs, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice M K Hanjura, disapproved of vandalism of important places.

“Why don’t you demolish these structures? How do you allow rampant constructions on places that are so important? You see the condition of Sonmarg, Gulmarg and Dal. You are ruining the state. What is the job of government?” the bench observed.

Deputy advocate general Fayaz Ahmad Mir told the court that the structures in and around Pahalgam have come up since times immemorial and it is not possible to demolish these structures as it involves huge expenditure on rehabilitation. He told the court that no new constructions are coming up in Pahalgam and the authorities are very vigilant.

It is the Jammu and Kashmir Special Tribunal, he said, that compounds the illegal structures and government cannot do anything in such situations. “The tribunal has compounded certain huge structures in Sonamarg,” he told the court.

Counsel for the petitioner, Parvaiz Imroz, told the court that the authorities flaunt inaction against the illegal structures as politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen have set up structures in non-construction zones of Pahalgam illegally.

He said the government is not implementing the court directions and the illegal structures continue to come up.

“Not only illegal structures, empty plastic bottles make Kashmir a dumping place,” the bench said.

The court directed secretary Tourism, secretary Revenue, secretary Forests, deputy commissioner Anantnag and CEO Pahalgam Development Authority to remain present on August 21.

On September 16, 2015, the High Court had directed the government to devise a mechanism for identification of different zones as also non-construction areas on either side of Lidder.

In its order of July 17, 2013, the court had clarified that if any construction within the radius of 200 meters on either side of Lidder was found to be in progress, then the authorities would be competent to demolish the same without any procedural difficulties.