HC allows temporary structures for Amarnath Yatra period at Sonamarg

A security personnel stands guard at Baltal camp amid Amarnath Yatra in Sonamarg. [Representational Image]
A security personnel stands guard at Baltal camp amid Amarnath Yatra in Sonamarg. [Representational Image]File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has permitted for setting up temporary structures for the facilitation of the Amarnath Yatris at Sonamarg.

However, the court ordered that the temporary structures should be demolished once the yatra was over.  A bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi modified its order dated March 27, 2023, to allow the authorities to raise “temporary structures” at Sonamarg for the convenient transit of the yatris.

“Considering the fact that Amarnath Yatra is going to commence from July 1, 2023, in order to facilitate and provide convenient provisions and facilities for the large number of yatris who are going to visit Amarnath, which is also for a limited period, as prayed for by learned counsel for the respondent (government), we allow raising only temporary structures meant for the convenient transit of the yatris, which shall be liable to be demolished on completion of the yatra by restoring the earlier position in the field,” the court said.

It held that it accordingly modified its order of March 3 only for the limited period till the conclusion of this year’s Amarnath Yatra.

In terms of the order dated March 27, 2023, passed in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on preservation of environs of Sonmarg, the court had banned all types of constructions in the golden meadow. While noting that the matter pertains to important environment issues relating to preservation of Sonamarg, the division bench said: “Before we consider any modification to the order passed by this court on March 27, 2023, we have to keep in mind that any construction or renovation may have serious implication for the preservation of the environment and ecology of Sonamarg. Accordingly, we post this matter after vacation for consideration.”

The court said this in response to the submission by Advocate Nadeem Qadri as amicus that two important departments, J&K Forest Department and the Department of Wildlife should be heard before the court takes any decision. 

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