Authorities jeopardize preservation of Gulmarg: HC

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sept 5: The High Court today observed that the preservation and protection of world famous Ski resort Gulmarg has been jeopardized by the concerned authorities and directed the Chief Town Planner Kashmir to place his submission on finalization of Draft Master Plan before the Chief Secretary.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe on hearing of PIL warned that serious view shall be taken by the court in case the Master Plan for Gulmarg is not finalized at the earliest.
Court in this connection directed the Chief Town Planner to put his submission as also the communication which he referred before the Court today before the Chief Secretary for taking up all necessary steps for finalization of Master Plan.
Court has left it open for CS as to whether there is any need of changing the previous notification with regard to draft Master Plan or not. Court said, in case CS feels so then the same (changing of notification) be done with the consultation of relevant experts.
Court has been informed by Advocate General on the instructions of CEO GDA that there is no impediment for CTP on continuing with his job in tune with court directions.
CTP, in his submission said that he had addressed the said communication to Commissioner/Secretary to Tourism Department for fresh notification with regard to re-definition of local areas of Gulmarg.
Chief Town Planner in his submission informed the court that the new draft Master Plan has to be revisited as there are certain discrepancies as also certain villages have been left out and are missing in the MP.
Court observed to him that CBI enquiry has to be ordered against those who while preparing the draft MP left out these villages. “We will ensure that MP has the light of the day. Such a eco-fragile tourist resort is without MP is unacceptable. We are not going to tolerate this kind of practice by the authorities as six years have lapsed and our concern is finalization of MP”, Court observed.
Court recorded in the order that it is a shocking state of affairs that such an important issue (preparing of MP) has not been given full attention for completing the process as also local areas were not defined since from 2012.
Court further added that it is total incompetence and lack of skill show by the GDA that small issues like renovation or repairs of structures situated in Gulmarg court intervention is being sought, which otherwise was the job of GDA to address these small issues due to which court’s precious time is being ravaged.