JAMMU, Aug 28: Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Sindhu Sharma today directed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Patnitop Development Authority to file an affidavit reflecting the details regarding the encroachments and illegal constructions raised within the jurisdiction of Authority before October 1, 2018.
The direction was passed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action against illegal constructions and unauthorized buildings at Patnitop which have been raised without any permission and violations of Building Control Act, 1988 and Master Plan.
When the PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Rahul Pant submitted that for the last more than 13 years there has been mushroom growth of hotels, guest houses and lodges which have been mostly constructed after coming into operation of the Master Plan on 25.04.2000.
“Around 70% of the buildings have been constructed on green buffer areas, forest land, State land/kahcharai land etc and the provisions and guidelines laid down in the Master Plan for Patnitop area have been violated with impunity”, the PIL said, adding “respondents have not taken any concrete action against the violations”.
It was also submitted that several structures have been raised by covering 100% of the area and even more than six floors have been constructed in blatant violation of the Master Plan.
“The respondents which are none else than the agencies of the State have failed to perform their statutory and administrative duties and have acted in an arbitrary and unconstitutional manner”, the counsel for the petitioner said, adding “the respondents in connivance with the defaulters have abused the process of law and have failed to enforce the provisions of law due to which the environment in Patnitop area has been damaged and ecological balance disturbed”.
“Even green deodar trees are being cut due to which the forest cover is depleting and ecological balance in the area has been disturbed as illegal constructions are still going on right under the nose of the concerned authorities”, the PIL said.