HC to form advisory committee of experts for Sonamarg

Committee, its blueprint for works in contravention to MoMs

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, May 26: The High Court today asked for recommendation of names for formation of an advisory committee to find out as to whether the partial ban on constructions in eco-fragile Sonamarg tourist resort would be feasible to be lifted or not.
Hearing the application filed by the Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) seeking lifting of partial ban on construction in and around the resort, the SDA counsel submitted that the ban order on constructions passed by the court on March 27, 2023 requires to be modified to some extent so that developmental works are carried ahead in and around the resort.
Government Counsel-Ilyas Laway informed the court that a committee in this regard has been constituted in order to formulate a detailed Blueprint of Tourism Development Authority Sonamarg for carrying out the developmental works.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi today after hearing the matter on the issue has asked all the parties to suggest names of experts by or before Monday i.e 29.5.2023 so that an advisory committee be formulated in order to find out as to whether the modifying of ban on construction in and around the resort would be feasible and viable for the ecosystem of the resort.
However, the court has been informed that the recent committee formed under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal is in total contravention of earlier minutes of meeting held by the SDA whereby it was decided that no construction shall be carried out or be allowed till the new Master Plan for the resort is finalized.
In this connection an application in opposition to modifying the ban on construction has been placed before the court. The application says that review and modification of ban order application filed by the CEO Sonamarg has not deliberately placed on record the 22nd and 23rd BOCA Minutes of Meetings (MoMs).
Court has been apprised that these minutes of meetings suggest that new constructions in Sonamarg area will have disastrous environmental effects. It has further been added that important members of the BOCA body have made strong reservations with regard to the construction in the eco-fragile zone and have impressed the Chairman BOCA to wait till the new Master Plan comes into force.
Court has been informed through the application that in utter disregard of these meetings and in order to show undue benefit to the vested persons, the Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal without any authority has constituted a committee of its own to come up with the Blueprint under which the SDA is seeking modification of court order.
“Without placing on record the important material, CEO SDA has moved application for modification of ban order in a deceitful and cunning manner under the pretext of Tourism department and Baltal Yatra. Under the guise of upcoming Yatra, the said blueprint has been prepared by the SDA in derogation of the environmental hazards”, read the application.