Saturday, April 14, 2012

Issue of ban on constructions

Hoteliers, residents of Pahalgam fail to appear before AG

 On one hand the Hoteliers and residents of Pahalgam area are raising hue and cry over the ban by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on constructions and repairs of residential houses and hotels and government's failure to find a way out, while on the other hand they failed to come forward to find out a workable solution to the issue with the Government.

A Government spokesman said here that in order to find a way out for repairs of residential houses and hotels a meeting between the counsels of Hoteliers and local residents and Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri was scheduled in Advocate General's chamber on April 12.

The spokesman said that neither the counsel of the residents nor the counsel of the hoteliers attended the meeting to find a solution to the problems faced by residents and hoteliers.

The meeting was scheduled for April 12 after residents and hoteliers of Pahalgam had a meeting with the Tourism Minister Nasir Aslam Wani, Director Tourism Farooq Ahmad Shah, MLA Pahalgam Rafi Ahmad Mir and Chief Executive Officer of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) to discuss the issue.

The Minister told the hoteliers and the residents of the area that they have not imposed any ban on constructions and were ready to help them out. The Minister assured them that a way out would be found to the issue legally.

It was resolved that the meeting to discuss the legality of the issue will be held on Monday in which the lawyers of the hoteliers and residents failed to appear.

It is worth mentioning here that in 2010, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court banned the constructions and repairs of hotels in order to save the fragile ecology of the tourist resort.

Last year not a single house or hotel was allowed to carry out repairs under the court orders and even necessary painting was not allowed.

However, after a plea made by the counsels of residents and hoteliers, the High Court recently allowed repairs of the legal residential houses and hotels without masonry work. But it was found that majority of the hotels and houses in Pahalgam have come up illegally without any proper permission from the Government.

It has been learnt that the five-member Enquiry Committee headed by Chief Executive Officer PDA had before the court that out of 177 constructions raised before the existing master plan (2005-25), 174 constructions have been raised without permission while as only three structures are with proper permission.

"Out of 174 structures raised without permission, only 41 were raised before 1980 while as thereafter 40 to 50 structures were raised during every 10 years," the enquiry report with court revealed.

Out of these 174 structures without permission, 122 are residential, 45 commercial, six are commercial cum
 residential and one has been mentioned as other.

The court allowed the necessary repairs following plea by the residents and hoteliers that massive damage was caused to the buildings in Pahalgam due to heavy snowfall and last month's windstorm.

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