SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday directed the state government to stop constructions forthwith in the environs of ecologically fragile Sonamarg after the court observed that construction activity still continues there.
The court observed that it is informed that a school is being constructed by the army at high altitude without their seeking any permission from the Building Operations and Construction Agency (BOCA).
In the petition, CEO Sonmarg Development Authority (SDA) has submitted that the army was constructing the school without any permission from BOCA Sonmarg, and the authority was not allowed to have an on-spot inspection of the illegal construction.
The court passed direction to Tahir Shamsi representing Union of India to come up with a report on this, and in case a construction is taking place, directed it be stopped forthwith.
After examining maps and photographs presented by state counsel before court today, the division bench, headed by chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, remarked upon the need to protect the environs, adding that no construction shall be carried out by any agency whosoever.
“We cannot transform green meadows into construction zones. We are all duty-bound to protect our environment,” said Justice Durrez.
Meanwhile Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal pleaded before court that every effort is being made to save the environment, and that this can be achieved when all parties do it.
On a previous hearing, while reviving the PIL titled ‘Qazi Shamas versus state’ as ‘Court on its own motion versus state and others’, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey had directed the SDA CEO to furnish a detailed map demarcating local area under the authority, forest area and wild life sanctuary.
The court also had directed the CEO to submit the master plan which is already in place since 2007.
The CEO, Sonmarg, who was present before court today, submitted maps and photographs of Sonmarg while seeking more time for submission of the Master Plan.
The court, while granting the state government time, appointed Advocate Nadeem Qadri as amicus curie besides GA Lone.