HC directs GDA to tax companies

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 24: In order to keep Gulmarg plastic and polythene free, the High Court today directed the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) to impose tax on the fast food making companies who litter the tourist place by wrapping food items in plastic and polythene.
The direction followed after the CEO GDA informed the Court that all efforts are being made to deal with the polythene and plastic waste in and around the resort and in this connection Solid Waste Plant and a disintegrator is also installed to handle the waste thrown in and around by the public.
He submitted that apart from other municipal waste a big challenge for the GDA is that the waste comes out by the use of cold drinks, snacks, chocolates, wafers etc. Court asked the CEO to call upon all the representatives of manufacturers of such companies for paying tax towards the GDA to keep the resort free from plastic and polythene waste.
Meantime, the CEO informed the court that the resort has been as third place which is properly free from dirt and waste in the country. He has also with regard to excretion facility informed the court that GDA has constructed various disability friendly toilets on modern basis in the area for visitors and public use.
The PHE counsel submitted before the Court that the department in view of public importance has a water supply scheme for providing drinking water in the area and the same was started in 2017 but the GDA has stopped the work on the project and season is limited for construction of water supply project.
Meantime, various hoteliers have submitted that their structures in and around the resort be protected under Development Act as the GDA in view of recent violation in building permission was not allowing any kind of renovation or repairs and either the necessary amendments in the Master Plan be made or direction from court be passed so that these old structures be protected. Court has asked the GDA to consider said issue and inform the court about the steps taken on next date.
The GDA is under court direction not to grant any permission for repairs or renovation of structures in Gulmarg unless a complete and detailed plan of the proposed/existing structures including the measurements and permissions granted for raising of construction of the existing structures including the measurements is accompanied with the application.
The direction has been recently passed by the court in view of illegal constructions on public land in violation of the orders and under the garb of permissions obtained by the property owners for effecting repairs, illegal and unauthorized constructions were going on in Gulmarg.