Law Officers fail to get interim orders vacated, modified
Tourism Deptt showing no interest in Master Plan finalization
JAMMU, Oct 31: The Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) orders in over two dozen violations by the hoteliers in the major tourist resort of Jammu region have remained stayed during the past several years due to failure of the concerned Law Officers to get the interim orders vacated or modified.
Moreover, Tourism Department is showing no interest in finalization of new Master Plan by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) Hyderabad, which was entrusted the task nearly seven years back.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that following the disposal of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No.1053/2004 titled Mukesh Khajuria Versus State of J&K and Others around two dozen violations of Master Plan and Building Byelaws by the hoteliers came to the notice of the Patnitop Development Authority and in all these cases necessary orders were passed against the violators.
In some cases, demolition notices were issued by the Patnitop Development Authority while as in other cases Jammu and Kashmir Special Tribunal passed orders of compounding of violations.
However, both demolition notices and orders of the J&K Special Tribunal were challenged by the violators before the High Court and accordingly interim orders were passed. “There is no change in the status of all these cases as the same were never vigorously pursued by the concerned Law Officers”, sources regretted.
Due to failure of the Law Officers to get the interim orders vacated or modified, the orders passed by the Patnitop Development Authority have remained unimplemented during the past several years, sources further said.
“Similar is the fate of the violations detected by the Forest Department”, they said while disclosing that in several cases of forest land encroachments notices were issued to the violators but they obtained stay orders from the courts and since then there is no change in the status of such cases.
It is pertinent to mention here that MLA from Chenani Dina Nath Bhagat had alleged encroachment of forest land by the hoteliers in Patnitop during the Budget Session of State Legislature held in the month of February this year.
“Several hoteliers have encroached the forest land by shifting the boundary pillars installed by the Forest Department but no action is being taken”, he had alleged and regretted inordinate delay on the part of concerned Law Officers in getting the interim orders of the High Court vacated or modified by placing before it the relevant record.
Meanwhile, Tourism Department has failed to initiate steps for finalization of new Master Plan for Patnitop by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) Hyderabad, which was entrusted the task nearly seven years back.
All the objections and suggestions on the draft Master Plan along with the comments of the concerned authorities were submitted to the CEPT early this year for incorporation in the revised draft and submission to the Patnitop Development Authority for onward placement before the State Government for approval.
However, despite lapse of several months the CEPT is neither coming forward with the final draft of the Master Plan nor responding positively to the communiqués of the Patnitop Development Authority, sources said, adding “the dilly-dallying approach on the part of CEPT is notwithstanding the fact that 80% payment for preparation of Master Plan has already been made to it by the Patnitop Development Authority”.
“In the recent past the Tourism Department was apprised of the situation for necessary action at its end but no step has so far been initiated to get Master Plan from CEPT”, sources regretted, adding “it seems that having new Master Plan for ensuring planned development of Patnitop is nobody’s priority otherwise even a team of officers could have been deputed to CEPT for ascertaining the reasons behind inordinate delay in submission of Master Plan”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the process to prepare new Master Plan for Patnitop was set into motion on September 17, 2011 when an agreement was signed between Patnitop Development Authority and Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Hyderabad.