Encroachment in Gulmarg

That a few persons having “grabbed” some chunks of land in and around Ski resort area of Gulmarg in Kashmir for decades, cannot be the basis of occupying of such pieces of land in an illegal manner. The State High Court has, in this connection, given a significant direction to observe all the existing provisions and procedures of land lease.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe observed that there were people who have no allotment of land in their favour and were in possession of hundreds of kanals of land without any authority of law. The other category of persons who were allotted a small portion of land had encroached upon hundreds of kanals of land which needed to be addressed.
However, while dismissing a petition filed by owner of Hotel Nedous at Gulmarg seeking renewal of nearly 99 kanals of lease land, the court made the issue very clear. The Hotel was given the land only for 20 years which had expired in 1985 and despite that, it had encroached upon the State land in utter violation of the law.
Court held that since the lease of land to Hotel Nedous had expired and was conflicting with Master Plan, it had therefore to be dismantled. It further observed that valuable public property could not be taken only on the premise that someone had grabbed it for decades. Public property being valuable asset and, therefore, the court has rightly directed State authorities to file details of all those cases where land had to be given on lease and which simultaneously had expired.