PIL on Pahalgam: Dismayed by absence of Govt counsels, HC seeks presence of officers


Expressing dismay over absence of the counsels representing the government in the Public Interest Litigation seeking preservation of Pahalgam health resort, the High Court on Wednesday directed all the concerned officers to appear before it on December 7. 
A division bench of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey directed chief town planner Kashmir, DC Anantnag, chairman State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and regional wildlife warden Kashmir to appear before it. 
After hearing the matter while the court directed its registry to fax copy of the order it passed to the officers just on Wednesday, the officers were directed to come in the court with compliance reports. 
“Except for Pahalgam Development Authority no advocate is present to represent the respondents. The direction issued on 20-10-2017 has not been complied with,” the court said. 
Meanwhile the court directed the commissioner secretary Law department to make arrangements for representing the authorities in the court today. 
On October 24 this year, the government had apprised the court that some villages in Pahalgam are within wildlife and forest boundaries as was indicated by the demarcation carried out. 
In his report chief executive officer Pahalgam Development Authority had stated that certain villages which fall within agricultural use zone were actually within wild life and forest boundaries. 
The CEO, however, said the superimposition on the proposed land use and zonal plan required to be done for which purpose the same was submitted to chief town planner Kashmir through a letter.
The report indicated that the Khasra details of the areas and their superimposition on the land use plan has been completed by the revenue department in villages Pahalgam, Laripora, Ganishbal, Lidroo, Athnada, Freslun, Khelan, Batkoot and Gurjran Batkoot and the same has been forwarded to chief town planner Kashmir for authentication and necessary action. 
The court had directed the chief town planner Kashmir to take prompt action on the letters.
The court had also directed Pahalgam Development Authority and SPCB to consult with each other and prepare an action plan on solid waste management and sewage treatment with regard to Pahalgam in accordance the provisions of law. 
The action plan, the court had said, should be submitted in keeping with Environment Protection Act 1986 and Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 within three weeks jointly by the PDA and SPCB. 
The court had also directed the SPCB to carry out a survey and cross check the STPs of all the hotels with more than 20 rooms and submit a report. It had also asked the SPCB to also survey the hotels with less than 20 rooms to ascertain whether they take adequate measures for treatment of sewage. 
“For reconstructions and repairs of already existing structures, the Building Operation Controlling Authority (BOCA) shall deal with the matters,” the court had said.
The court had reiterated its direction that no illegal or unauthorized construction should come up in the entire area under Pahalgam Development Authority, forest area and wild life sanctuary.

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