Under garb of repairs, massive constructions on in Gulmarg

Illegal constructions in full swing in tourist resort of Gulmarg. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
Illegal constructions in full swing in tourist resort of Gulmarg. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

HC order thrown to winds

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, June 15: Under the garb of repair works, several hoteliers at tourist resort of Gulmarg are making massive constructions by adding more rooms and facilities to their hotels against the High Court orders that have banned any construction in the environmentally fragile zone.

At least 5 hotels have undertaken massive construction works in the middle of forests and some of them have cut down pine trees as well. They include hotel Pride Inn, Khillan Hut, City View, Pine Palace and Royal Castle Coffee Shop. These hotels belong to well known businessmen and politicians and they all have got permission for renovations only.
They, under the garb of renovations, have resorted to massive constructions in violations of High Court orders. It may be mentioned here that any fresh constructions are banned in Gulmarg but the Government officials are hand in glove with these powerful businessmen and politicians.
Trucks loaded with gravel, sand, bricks, cement and steel are making their way into Gulmarg regularly under the noose of authorities for construction purpose and officials are silent. A source said that in last one week more than 10 trucks of gravel, 8 trucks of bricks and over 200 tons of steel have been dumped at these construction sites.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA,) Hanief Balkhi, however, said that there is a proper mechanism in place, which is to be followed, and which is being followed for these constructions.
“There is no question of illegal constructions in Gulmarg, nothing new is coming up; only those who have got premises on the lease were given permission to carry out repair works,” he said while adding that few of the hotels were damaged as well.
“There is a mechanism in place for any repair works in Gulmarg. The hoteliers apply for permission for repair works. The ground inspection which is carried out by Registrar Judicial and Deputy Registrar Judicial, finally comes to the BOCA, which is chaired by the Deputy Commissioner. In 99 percent cases BOCA gives a go-ahead for the repair works as required and there is nothing more than that,” Balkhi said.
What is interesting, is that the lease agreement of at least three 3 hotels has expired as of now and they are also carrying construction works.