SC gives green signal for construction of Convention Centre at Patnitop

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 4: Supreme Court has allowed Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) to carry out construction work for the much-awaited Convention Centre at Patnitop.
The Convention Centre was conceived and sanctioned as part of the project titled “Integrated Development of Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop” under Himalayan Circuit Theme, Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism and the Prime Minister’s Development Package with an objective to harness and boost the tourism potential of the Patnitop tourist circuit. However, it was dropped, consequent to the land dispute with the Forest Department.
Hearing an application filed by Patnitop Development Authority, the Apex Court pronounced, “we allow the present application subject to obtaining clearances from the statutory authorities and permit the applicant to construct Convention Centre at Patnitop after demolishing the existing dilapidated Club Building of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation”
With the requisite signal from the Apex Court, the establishment of the Convention Centre at Patnitop will be a reality soon. The Convention Centre was proposed to be constructed in the area under the possession of Tourism Department and at the same site where JKTDC’s Club House building stood, lying unused and in dilapidated condition.
The existing Club House building of JKTDC/Tourism Department was demolished and the construction work pertaining to the Convention Centre was started. However, the Forest Department called a halt and sought land transfer. The indent for use of forest land for non-forestry purposes was placed and the case was taken up before the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) and was under consideration.
However, in view of the directions passed in the case titled TN Godavarman Thirumalpad Versus Union of India, wherein, it was stated that no further construction or conversion is permitted at Patnitop, Patnitop Development Authority and Tourism Department approached the Supreme Court seeking necessary permissions for the construction of Convention Center at Patnitop, ensuing which, a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Court visited Patnitop in May 2022 to review and asses the steps taken by PDA, Tourism & Forest Departments with regard to the maintenance and restoration of ecological balance and according of permission for the construction of the Convention Centre.
When contacted, Thakur Sher Singh, Chief Executive Officer of PDA said, “it was due to the constant efforts and regular follow-ups by the J&K Government through PDA and Tourism Department that CEC visited the site of the proposed Convention Centre in June 2022, furnished its report before the Supreme Court, which has now granted permission.