Gulmarg Master Plan ossified

Gulmarg, as one of the most famous tourist resorts, needs no introduction but to retain it as a tourist destination in its pristine scenic environs,  is inversely related to its planned up- gradation using sustainable principles of development. It is, at the same time, imperative that the issues of ecological conservation are properly addressed. In addition to it, the local habitat too must be partaking the fruits of development of their area as a tourist destination. Tourism, so important for Jammu and Kashmir, needs to be addressed in its totality and not selectively, leaving allied vital components unaddressed.
The problems with the tourist destinations in the State have been peculiar in that  whichever  developmental plans have been put into practice, they have more often than not,  been without proper scientific planning with barest minimal adverse effects on the environment and the overall interests of the local population. The paradigm shift is needed before it is too late.
Gulmarg Master Plan – 2032 attempts to address these problems in a sustained way with more focused attention on long term development of Gulmarg, but the immediate areas of concern are effective garbage disposal, regulation of pony trade, removing infrastructural deficiencies and decongestion of the bowl. What progress has been made in the areas of immediate concern with special emphasis on creation of the required bed capacity which is half as much of the present requirement, non building of the required basic infrastructural support, disposal of garbage and other waste, removing of encroachments  and the like is very important. Has the much hyped Master Plan been prepared for its gradual implementation on the ground? Unfortunately it is not.
In this context, the Division Bench of the State High Court has not taken lightly the State Government’s inability to avert delays in finalization of the Gulmarg Master Plan. It has directed the State Government to arrange for its finalization by the next date of hearing, taking the help of experts and consultants from within and outside the State, depending upon the choice of the Government. The question is again the same, as to why things of sensitive nature often get delayed even in the primary stage of preparation of project reports, town and tourist development plans, eco tourist projects etc and then even court orders are not given the required attention, resulting in seeking time and “grace periods” which even fall short of the benchmark requirements of the State.
In the instant case too, the same events have taken place and the court has refused to grant any more relief and instead of directing the Gulmarg Development Authority, has passed the directions to Principle Secretary of Tourism. It is completely untenable that one of the representatives from the respondents, ie; the Chief Town Planner pleading with the court to direct the Government to enhance the staff strength in his office. The footprints of waywardness and lack of administrative protocol are so much expanded in the State that officers are compelled to request the courts for even their official requirements.
Could the Government’s administrative machinery afford to “play” with the court orders? The High Court in its order passed on May 9, has conveyed its displeasure over the same by causing delays in finalizing the Master Plan of Gulmarg. In its order of Feb 27, the Bench had directed the authorities that if any positive action was not taken and the status report not filed by the next date , i.e; of May 9, it would  be constrained to call for the personal appearance of all the concerned who had caused delay in preparation of the Master Plan.
It is beyond ones comprehension that with this speed and seriousness in addressing vital issue like the one under reference and despite the Court orders having been issued things continue to be in the state of inertia.  Strictures passed by the Courts, at least, should shake the indolent and work – shy State administration.