HC seeks action plan for tourists, Amarnath yatra

Govt sets up 6-member Panel

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, May 18: The High Court has sought instruction from the Government with regard to proposed plan of action in respect of requirements for tourists and smooth pilgrimage for upcoming Amarnath Yatra and developmental works of the resort.
These directions followed by the Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi while hearing a PIL on protection and preservation of Sonamarg resort. Court directed for listing of matter on Monday (May 22) in order to enable the Government Counsel to take instruction from the authorities on all these issues for reference of the court.
Government Counsel-Ilyas Laway has informed the court that a committee in this regard has been constituted in order to formulate a detailed blueprint of Tourism Dev Authority Sonamarg for carrying out the developmental works and upcoming Yatra within the jurisdiction of the resort.
The committee includes Additional Development Commissioner, Ganderbal (Chairman), Chief Executive Officer (Member Secretary), Executive Engineer (Member), Tourist Officer Sonamarg (member), Tourism Development Authority (TDA) Sonamarg and others.
The CEO has to present the whole scenario of TDA Sonamarg before the committee and the committee would clearly define the scope of works including the objectives and timelines.
The committee should seek the inputs from the public and all stakeholders to ensure the blueprint reflects the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders. “Once the blueprint is complete, the committee should review and finalize the blueprint ensuring that it is aligned with the goals and objectives of TDA Sonamarg”, read the Government order.
It has further been impressed upon the committee to ensure that the blueprint shall be completed and finalized within a week’s time positively so that the same will be placed before the High Court.
It has also been suggested that as it is located en-route to Ladakh as well as Shri Amarnath cave, tourists from all over the country and abroad travel to Sonamarg for both recreational pursuits and pilgrimage and in order to diffuse pressure on the Pahalgam-holy cave route, the Government permits travel of yatris to the holy cave via Sonamarg-Baltal route.
It is noted that court on previous hearing had directed that all constructional activities in Sonanmarg area shall be strictly as per the Master Plan of 2005-2025 till the new Master Plan is finalized and published in public domain.
The court after perusal of the affidavit filed by the Chief Executive Officer, Sonamarg, said the construction activity in the Sonamarg Development Area is presently being regulated by the Master Plan of Sonamarg for the year 2005 to 2025 and that the new Master Plan for the year 2025 to 2040 is under process with the Chief Town Planner, Kashmir as such court sought action plan of developmental works around resort.
Court in this regard has sought fresh affidavits from CEO Sonamarg and Chief Town Planner Kashmir indicating the steps taken by them to finalize the Master Plan 2025 to 2040. The Court has made it clear that no construction shall be raised in the Sonamarg Development Area or any repairs to the existing buildings carried out unless the building permission is granted by the BOCA, Sonamarg and is approved by this Court.
The Chief Executive Officer was under direction to submit the latest status report about all the construction activities presently going on within the Sonamarg Development Area and the permissions if any granted, by the BOCA, Sonamarg.