Army resists furnishing details of ‘illegal’ constructions in Gulmarg

Army resists furnishing details of ‘illegal’ constructions in Gulmarg

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High court on Friday directed representative Building Operation Controlling Authority (BOCA) to visit the Army camp in Gulmarg to see as to what constructions have been carried out by the army.
The state government informed the High Court that despite court orders, BOCA has not visited army camp in Gulmarg and it cannot permit the army to carry out repairs and renovation work of its structures at Gulmarg unless it comes up with the details of the works.
A division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey remarked that despite requests made to BOCA, no officer from their side has visited the Army camp in Gulmarg. We directed BOCA to ensure their visit to Army camp without fail and gather all the details regarding the work carried out by them.
The army, however, on previous hearing had told the court that it cannot reveal the details (of constructions) to BOCA as it amounts to breach of security.
While deputy Advocate General Fayaz Ahmad Mir pleaded the case on behalf of the state government, assistant solicitor general Tahir Shamsi defended the union government.
In its meeting, BOCA has said it is unable to consider case of army unless they furnish details including key plan, site plan and overall area under its possession, including the area of the land in possession of the army at Gulmarg.
The authority said the army has to provide all details of built up, existing as well as proposed, if any, in the standard format of drawings.
The BOCA has asked the army to Identify and demarcate the existing boundaries of the 130 acres of land, identify and demarcate 53 acres of land which the army had to surrender to the state government as per a 1991 government order.
It has asked the army to furnish initial building permissions issued earlier by competent authority Gulmarg Projects Organisation (GPO) or any other state regulatory authority which existed before the creation of GDA in 2003.
In response to army’s request for proposed constructions in areas like Botapathri, the BOCA has said there was no document or evidence of transfer of land available in the records.
The regional director ecology, environment and remote sensing has voiced the concern that the comments of the chief wild life warden J&K be also sought as the area in question appears to be a part of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.
He said the buildings’ infrastructure should conform to the guidelines, rules and regulations notified under the environment protection act.
Shamsi, however, had told the court that army cannot furnish the details about the repairs and renovation work and would file objections to the report filed by the GDA.
He had told the court that it is the chief minister of J&K who in 2001 has written to his revenue minister that the land under army should be regularised.
The army is stated to be under unauthorised occupation of land measuring 175 acres, 5 kanals and 13 Marlas at Gulmarg.
Meanwhile court directed the state to halt all construction in Sonmarg and Gulmarg areas.
“We have noticed that constructions are taking place in Sonmarg. We direct that no construction shall be carried till further orders,” a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said while hearing a Public Interest Litigation relating to illegal construction on the banks of river Sindh.
“In wake of alarming condition of Sonmarg, the instant petition is treated as suo moto proceedings taken by the court in order to save the resort before becoming a concrete jungle,” the court said.
To a question by the court, Advocate General replied that the then
Chief Executive Officer of Sonmarg Development Authority has granted the permissions for the constructions.
Subsequently, the court directed its registry to plead Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SDA, Regional Wildlife Warded Kashmir, and Divisional Forest Officer Sindh as party respondents to the PIL and issued notice to them.
The court adjourned the matter for two weeks and till then, directed the CEO SDA to file the map of Sonmarg area. The map should contain complete geographical details regarding forest, wildlife area and that of proper Sonmarg resort, the court said.
The division bench also directed the authorities to submit the Master Plan of Sonmarg which as per the information given by the advocate General has been put into effect since 2007.

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