Expresses concern about delay in mechanism on expired, cancelled lease to allotees
SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Thursday expressed concern over the government’s failure to put in place an effective mechanism to deal with expired or cancelled leases in Gulmarg.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and BS Walia also said that they expect the government to complete master plan for Gulmarg within four weeks.
During the previous hearing of the PIL, the advocate general had stated that a Draft Master Plan for Gulmarg will be placed before the cabinet for approval following which the court had asked the government to file compliance report before the next date of hearing.
“The compliance report (filed by the government) appears to have conspicuously skipped the mention of the date when it (Draft Master Plan) has been submitted to the Cabinet, if at all it is submitted to it,” the court said.
On December 21 last year, the Chief Executive Officer of the Gulmarg Development Authority stated that the final presentation of the Master Plan was made before the Chief Minister on June 1 last year and that its approval by the Cabinet was awaited.
Deputy Advocate General Fayaz Ahmad Mir on Thursday submitted before the court that the decision regarding approval of the Master Plan shall be expedited and compliance reported within four weeks.
“We hope and trust that the Government will take a decision in the matter and report compliance by the next date (of hearing in the PIL),” the court said.
The PIL was filed in 2012 by a person named Mohammad Rafiq Zargar, seeking directions for protection of the fragile environment of Gulmarg.
“One more concern that government is not taking any steps to see that there is an effective mechanism in place to deal with a case where the lease of an allottee has expired or where the lease is cancelled is registered with all its seriousness,” the court said, adding that it expects the government to take decision in the matter.
The GDA’s CEO also submitted before the court that he has received some more applications seeking permission for renovations and repairs at Gulmarg, which he has immediately referred to the Judges Committee constituted by the high court for the purpose.
“With the transfer of Jawad Ahmad, the then Registrar Judicial, the Judges Committee shall now comprise of MY Wani, Registrar Judicial, and Farooq Ahmad Bhat, Joint Registrar Judicial. The Judges Committee shall visit the spot on any non-working day and submit its report well before the next date of hearing in the PIL,” the deputy advocate general told the court.
The court also rejected the submission of the state counsel that no other report was filed on behalf of other state functionaries regarding steps taken for removal of encroachments or putting a restraint on fresh constructions because no direction to that effect had been issued by the court.
“It is a duty cast on all the functionaries of the State responsible and entrusted with the assignment of maintaining the glory and beauty of the world famous tourist resort, Gulmarg, to maintain its standard in all its forms and keep on informing this court about any type of progress made in that direction, as this Court is monitoring the progress and that can be had only by having a firsthand account of the events taking place around the subject matter,” the court said, reiterating that “any sort of construction taking place, any encroachment taking place, or any other activity of which a note has been taken earlier by this court from time to time is to be reported to this court with utmost dispatch, without waiting for any specific direction in this behalf.”