HC seeks status of investigations in Pahalgam constructions

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Feb 4: The High Court has sought status of outcome of the investigation being conducted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau with regard to a case registered 12 years ago against the higher officials and bureaucrats for allowing constructions in non-permissible areas of Pahalgam tourist resort and in contravention of Forest Act.
Hearing the PIL for protection and preservation of Pahalgam tourist resort, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal sought status of the FIR No. 27/2008 registered by ACB (former VOK).
The DB while enquiring about the process of investigation of said FIR from the Government advocate M A Chashoo (AAG), he sought time to apprise the court about the same. “…a month’s time to file status report regarding the outcome of the investigation pursuant to the above referred FIR”, the DB directed.
It is as per the pleadings before the Court the then Chief Town Planner Mir Naseem, Nazir Ahmad Magrey (Assistant Town Planning Organization) and Hamid Ahmad Wani (Joint Commissioner Planning SMC) with the land mafia and influential hoteliers having nexus with the bureaucrats working in the constituted PDA designed the Master Plan for the resort to serve their personal interests.
In contravention of the Forest Act, the areas which should have been preserved as green, and therefore, non-permissible for construction have been made permissible for construction and residential villages have been shown as green belts which deprived the local inhabitants of their right to construct their house to live.
The plea revealed that BOCA has issued permissions for construction of hotels, guest houses and huts in favour of influential permission holders and they were allowed to construct their buildings as per their own wishes by committing open violation of building bylaws.
It is further averred that the demarcation of the PDA land arbitrarily for the purpose to serve the interest of the bureaucrats and land mafia in the area, it has not only defeated the purpose of the Master Plan but has caused huge problems to the people, who are related with the tourism or agriculture.
According to the FIR registered with the then VOK now ACB it is the members of the Master Plan committee resorted to misrepresentation, manipulation and distortions, whereby it was proposed that sub zone be de-notified to permit construction of hutments and other facilities in Master Plan in order to achieve the mischievous design for the officials against whom FIR is registered.
These officials, as per the pleadings, have dishonestly and frequently acquired huge land at Pahalgam which arbitrarily induced the sharp increase in the value of the land. One of the accused officials had challenged the FIR before High Court for quashing the same. However, his plea has been dismissed by the court.
People of Pahalgam have expressed their anguish over lackadaiscal approach of investigating agency (ACB) with the delay in investigation of FIR and submitted that the same is helping the accused officials only as they are not being brought before the court of law due to investigation-delay.
It is because of these irregularities that the earlier proposed MP (2005-2025) was made frequently and in violation of people’s rights as such new MP (2015-2032) was proposed which is in place.