Undertake digital documentation of all structures in Pahalgam: HC to Govt

J&K High Court has directed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pahalgam Developmet Authority (PDA) and Deputy Commissioner Anantnag to undertake digital documentation of all existing structures via drones in Pahalgam.

Underscoring that digital documentation should be on the same lines as had been done in and around Dal Lake, a division bench of Chief justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta said it should include videography, cadastral mapping. The Court sought a status report in this regard by October 12.

The Court directed the two authorities to complete the digital documentation of the forest and wildlife areas, indicating clearly places where the construction exists. “We also direct that the videography of the forest and wildlife area shall also be undertaken by the aforesaid officers”, the bench said.

The directions came after the CEO PDA, Mushtaq Ahmad Simnani, through a status report, informed the Court that 1,500 structures have been identified in the prohibited zones in the ground survey conducted by Revenue Department.

“1500 structures which presently exist in the no construction zones, were constructed prior to Master Plan 2005-25 when there was no such demarcation of zones,” the report said, revealing it was decided and consequently incorporated in the revised Master Plan that no further construction shall be allowed in these areas.

The report divulges there was no scheme for relocation or rehabilitation of built-up areas and hamlets existing within wildlife and forest zones, citing financial incapacity.

“Keeping in view the preservation and conservation of the fragile ecology, this aspect cannot be compromised under any circumstances,” the Court said.

“We direct that each building owner located in the forest or wild life areas shall submit complete site plan of the existing construction with photographs to Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority and Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag,” the Court said.

Meanwhile, the DC Anantnag informed the Court that he has directed the CEO to seek assistance of Tehsildar Pahalgam for verification and compilation of case- wise full details of encroachments in Pahalgam.

With regard to Solid Waste Management bye-baws, the DC Anantnag informed these were notified by Municipal Committees and Municipal Councils of the district. The Court asked the DC to file within eight weeks report with regard to the action taken for implementation of the bye-laws and the details of fines recovered.

With regard to leases, the Court directed AAG, MA Chashoo to put on record the status report he has received from the CEO. For this purpose, the court listed matter for consideration in September.